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Culture Life & Philosophy Tech

Idleness is technology’s life-force

gif by Mr. Cody England

Flipping through apps like we used to surf through channels, expecting a variable reward but more often getting caught in a ludic loop

Getting hugged in a web of inspiration porn and motivational quotes without actually getting off the computer to do the work is insanity.

The paradox is staring at us right in the face: Having unfettered access to an entire web is a recipe for distraction. 

Contemplating off the grid is free — it’s not a luxury. 

The optimistic expectancy that we can cut the cord and chase real life is a worthy endeavor. Most people can’t resist pushing buttons on the nearest screen, snacking on a perpetual hit of chemical satisfaction. 

Like placating a nagging worry with good thoughts, we tend to technology as an instrument for coping with idleness. But we experience a virtual suck of life beforehand. 

The inability to do nothing empowers the light.

Categories
Culture Social Media Tech

Resisting the influence

gif by Rico Rose

The urge to do the exact opposite of what everyone is doing tingles the predictive soul.

To remain uninfluenced, resisting the harmonization of taste.

Everything interesting must be excruciatingly different — social media endeavors to trap uniqueness with templated styles.

The edited life is all chicanery, one stock cloud too many.

All places and poses scream with sameness, as do the viewers who stare at the screen cooking the mind for imitation.

Lemmings, are we not? Even the most-conscious person gets blindsided into a distraction of taste.

We are the perfect model.

Categories
Culture Tech

We used to pick up the phone

Tethered to the phone hanging on the wall, we forfeited our anonymity to the unknown stranger.

Every call felt like a cold call, with no indication of who was on the other line. Yet it felt surprisingly safe to answer even if it was a telemarketer. “No thanks, we’re eating dinner. Please call back later.” Hang up.

Now we expect every phone call to be preceded by a text, even if it’s our closest friends and family members. And we’re sure as hell never going to answer an unknown number because chances are it’s a Chinese spammer.

With screen time the default, if we’re going to answer the phone to take us away from whatever else we’re doing — emailing, texting, scrolling Instagram — there better be someone we know or think we know on the other line.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Tech

Where it sings

A mind running on the “factory setting” defaults to organizational distraction. Everydayness overtakes what was inherent fascination.

A mind surrendering to the television or the internet sits stuck in a ludic loop of changing the channels or flicking to the next app.

A mind in search of its stimulation stumbles upon daydreams and mind wandering.

The mysterious power of doing nothing intends to fill in the void. There is no lapse in creativity.

Boredom is where the synapses sing.

Categories
News Tech

Automattic (aka WordPress) acquires Tumblr

I used to blog on Tumblr exclusively. But then the community got stale — other users stopped posting cool art and gifs as they gravitated to Instagram.

Even worse, Yahoo acquired the Tumblr platform for $1.1 billion in 2013 and never made any major upgrades to the micro-blogging site other than inserting in invasive and irrelevant ads.

Like Flickr, another great product that went bust under Yahoo’s control, Tumblr dissolved into irrelevancy. The site took a further blow when it banned porn, including artsy content like this.

Don’t get me wrong. I still use Tumblr today but for mere syndication for this blog.

But Automatic, the company that owns WordPress.com, just bought Tumblr from Yahoo for $3 million.

No one’s expecting a revival of Tumblr’s once-creative community but it could signal an effort to get back to the service’s micro-blogging core that made it unique from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social network.

Wrote Automatic CEO and founder Matt Mullenweg on his Tumblr blog:

The Tumblr team also has some exciting functionality they’re eager to unlock once we close the acquisition officially in a few weeks…

Matt Mullenweg

So let’s see what exciting things WordPress has in store for Tumblr. I, for one, might be rediscovering/reblogging content on there in the meantime.

Categories
Psychology Social Media Tech

Tech this out

Technology controls us. The companies that make the hardware and software hijack our attention and turn us into distraction-seeking mice. None of this is good for our cognition.

Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.

That Instagram heart, the Twitter retweet, the Facebook like–they are all designed to steal our conscious attention. They say sitting is the new smoking; how about pecking at our smartphones? Walk down a busy street; both walkers and drivers are looking down. Self-driving cars can’t come soon enough!

This continuous partial attention is not only causing cognitive load, but it’s also putting our lives at risk. We’ve become transfixed on creating and consuming bite-sized rewards.

Learn to focus. Learn to be bored. Learn to daydream.