The discussion focuses a good deal on the negative impact of social media on our ability to focus on the work and relationships that matter most.
Recently, I mentioned a short interview between Matt D’Avella and Greg McKeown. There are apparently at least two more forms of this interview.
The mid-length interview of about 30 minutes is also openly available on YouTube. It contains some useful additional reflections on the importance of margin and Greg’s suggestions for how to use margin as a criterion for deciding what opportunities to welcome into your life or not.
Cal Newport reflects on the possibility of deleterious effects of social media on religious practice.
In part, he comments:
Courage, reassurance, revelation: these require a quiet mind capable of apophatic insight. One of the unintentional consequences of innovating an algorithmically-optimized, always-present source of attention-snagging noise is that this quiet disappears.
For a good while now, I’ve posted at least a couple times a day to different social media channels with helpful links and commentary I’ve found. This is changing (at least for now). Read on to find out how.
What’s Staying the Same
Each week, you can still expect an essay-type blog post on Monday morning.
On social media, different ones of you like to interact on different channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter). It’s great to hear from you, and I look forward to continuing to interact with you in each of these channels. If you prefer to receive new content on these channels, you’ll still be able to do so without any additional action on your part.
Instead of dripping out these useful nuggets in individual social media posts alone, I’m going to try grouping them together in a series of “daily gleanings” blog posts.
I’m envisioning these to come out once each weekday, include everything that would otherwise have gotten dripped out via social media for that day, and still be reasonably brief.
I’ve been contemplating a change like this for a while and have decided to go ahead with it mostly for four reasons:
On the more philosophical side of things, there’s a difference between “social media” and the “social internet,” as Cal Newport has observed. Both provide ways of posting things online for wider or narrower public consumption. In “social media” this posting happens under the auspices and care taking of companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. By contrast, “the social internet is just the idea that you can use the internet to connect with people, express yourself, and discover interesting information.” And this can happen in independently owned and maintained spaces like blogs just like it can in the “walled garden” of social media. The main difference is the independence of the social internet sites outside of social media. In practice, this might or might not count for much. But, of course, social media can shut down irrespective of whether its users want it to or not, as Google Plus poignantly illustrates. The information I’ve been curating via social media can, I think, be helpful and valuable for some of us. For that reason, I’d like to not see it be unavailable just because one of the social media giants decides to change directions, make it unavailable, or—as I’ve had happen before too—not allow it to be posted. If you want to follow along with what’s happening here via social media, that’s wonderful. You’ll still get daily gleanings post information there. Those posts will just primarily refer you back to a blog post here to read the gleanings. Of course, if you want to comment on the daily gleanings or another blog post on social media, I’ll be happy to interact and respond there.
One of the nagging issues I’ve found with the social media posts I’ve been making is how comparatively difficult it is to find one again after it’s been posted. I’ve often found myself wanting to refer back to something I’ve posted and then not able to find it. I suspect you might have had the same experience. On the other hand, search works quite well on the blog. And with everything all in one place, there’s only one place to search to find something. In short, I’m hopeful this change should yield a better, more useful, and more accessible archive of prior content.
The blog post framework allows more space for content and commentary. Sometimes, even just one or two good academic sentences are difficult to squeeze and elide down into 280 characters without leaving out something essential. In addition, while still intending to keep the daily gleanings brief, the blog post framework will easily allow for further commentary on whatever particular gleaning that might not fit as well in the context of a social media post.
This approach should help streamline the overhead work that’s been required to feed posts into the different social media channels. I’ll still look forward to conversing with you all on social media if that’s where it’s best for you to comment. This change will just help me be able to focus on providing content rather than fussing with setting up content on multiple platforms.
These “daily gleanings” plans may themselves need to change. But since this was a comparatively more substantive alteration of how I’ve been posting content, I wanted to give a bit of explanation and context for the change.
You can anticipate this new content structure to roll out the week of 8 April. As always, I’ll look forward to continuing the discussion and interacting with your comments!
What thoughts do you have about the relationship between the “social internet” and “social media”?
How do you approach content you find and want to save for later reference by yourself or others?