Stop the Scroll

Life in a post-Twitter world

Me: “So, I quit Twitter — now what?”
Him: “You’ll just find another place to scroll.”

My friend’s response was accurate. Not yet a month away from the Twitter timeline, I am still wondering what could (should?) replace it in my world.

I find myself attempting to look at online news sites now, only to close window after ad-filled window. It’s embarrassing to admit that I feel somehow vaguely disconnected from ‘what’s happening’. Unsure of the feeling, I wonder is this just from familiarity or habit?

In any case, we (introverts in particular) haven’t been actually sustaining ourselves via any of the available social media timeline’s dopamine drip, drip, drips. So, despite the feeling of loss, quitting is the clearly the way forward.

The isolation of COVID shutdowns sabotaged my previous attempts to clean my phone, browser and life of the ‘my data is your product’ applications in all of my past attempts.

Why leave Twitter now then? I guess I have Elon’s narcissistic cruelty to thank for something potentially positive. Engineering is for rockets and cars, not people.

Rather than considering what should replace Twitter for me, I wonder what actually will. Of course, the more pointed question is why should anything need to?

Scrolling ruins the ability to pay attention to the world in front of us.

Scrolling application timelines is also the ‘go-to’ to alleviate boredom or any kind of waiting, isn’t it? Look around, at the airport, bank, anywhere there is a line. How many people are scrolling?

Do you have the scrolling jitters?

When you are at an event with friends or on a date, how many people are on their phones during the event? How often?

Recently, I did a little exercise when my doctor was 45 minutes late. With some effort, I did not take out my phone and scroll for the entire time. Rather I looked as carefully as I could at every item and aspect of the examination room.

  • What were the sizes, shapes and colors of each object?
  • How were the objects related to each other?
  • What functions could each object perform?

In addition to being able to draw the room from memory, and to being utterly unconcerned about my doctor’s tardiness. I was surprised and happy to be told that my previously high blood pressure measured in a normal range. What is the impact of attention, really?

I don’t know. What does social media 3.0 look like? I haven’t seen anything yet that looks promising. For me for now, it’s LinkedIn for work stuff, GitHub for code and Medium for longer conversations.

Other than that, if you want to connect with me, well, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. Yes, on my phone, but you’ll have to call or text me.

As for scrolling? So far so good — nothing to scroll here. No social media, none. Next, it’s more reading for me. I just ordered a bunch of books from my favorite publisher (MIT Press). Newsflash, reading is great for building attention span too.

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Cloud Architect who codes.

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