508 BCE

Aimlessly

It’s easy to spend time on things that don’t matter.

On an almost daily basis I find myself starting at a screen, time passing me by as I do nothing particularly meaningful. Browsing Twitter. Browsing Reddit.

I don’t gain much from this. Aimless browsing of the internet does little to help me become a better person. And life is short. So why am I on the internet?

It’s easy. It’s addicting.

There’s very little cognitive overhead to aimlessly browsing down an unending stream of the best content that others have created.

Scrolled through it all? Don’t worry, there’s more at the top! And there’s always another app to check.

These apps provide a random, but consistent, stream of dopamine hits. It’s enjoyable to grab the phone, wondering “has anything new happened?” and watch the loading spinner go.

When I’m not connected to this never-ending deluge, I have a huge fear that I’m missing out – FOMA – on something that needs my attention. Right now. Clearly.

It’s so easy to let these services become the master of your life.

And they want to be. The more time I spend on their site, the more money they make. So why would they want to make it easy to leave?

I’ve successfully defeated the Facebook and Instagram monsters after realizing how much they affected me psychologically. But I never abandoned Twitter and Reddit.

I suspect soon it will be time, as they find themselves increasingly prominent in my life.

Instead of aimless, I should be intentional. I should make progress towards my goals. I should go to the gym. I should read. I should make music. I should write.

There’s nothing wrong with managed use of these services, but I find myself wondering more and more whether that is physiologically possible for me.

I find myself in a candy store of distractions, unable to escape.

Home