93: Attention Overload

This was a great episode and had significant value. I think the current headlines that looking at social is “bad” or playing video games is “bad”, misses the point. What you are doing is neither bad or good, it is how it makes you feel.

Now, if when you look at social media it makes you feel happy because all your friends are posting funny cat videos then that is alright (within moderation). On the other hand if you get on any platform and it makes you stressed, then that is a different physiological response. Doing something stressful causes that "flight, fight, or freeze’ response. Doing it long-term can be detrimental to your health. There are numerous journal articles about the correlation between stress and cardiovascular disease in emergency workers (like firefighters). The constant stress activates the cortisol response to feed the sympathetic response. High cortisol levels will cause cardiovascular disease, obesity, and endocrine disorders (like diabetes). I would propose that we do not have a obesity problem (in some first world nations), we have a stress problem.

You are giving sound advise. Mindfulness, meditation, and exercise are all tools to reduce stress. Some stress can be alright and in short intervals. Reducing time on electronics can be helpful. Managing stress levels related to any activity should the goal. Keep up the great work.

Fair points. Depends what one means by ‘social media’ I suppose. This group might count. It is a pleasure to be here and shows how a social site need not be the cesspit that FB has become.

Facebook and Twitter though have algorithms and so on that are pretty negative in their effects over all. I did some cursory research amongst a group of people who all claimed and got very defensive about ‘cat pics’. Well; all of them were actually using the site in vastly different ways than they claimed. In a couple of cases the people were outright lying to me. Most users are unaware or in denial of the fact the they are being manipulated too. I don’t understand some of the algorithms I know about myself, neither, in many cases, do the creators.

Far from ‘cat pics’ and baby photos they claimed to be engaged in; they were engaged in petty gossip, much of it unsubstantiated and some downright false; compulsive checking in and that kind of thing. Generalization is to be avoided as you say. However Facebook and Twitter do not have to work as they do and they themselves, FB especially, did not work as it does now initially. As they work now I would argue they are “Bad”. There is a real question as well about ‘fake’ online life, fake camaraderie and so on.

I am not sure what is so marvelously ‘neutral’ or benign about “Cat Pics” either, sentimental or funny, both rouse suspicion in me, though I indulge occasionally. personally I hate cats and think they are an introduced pest in most of the World. Notoriously along with rats on some Islands. That is a kind of side point I guess, though it shows how anything can have broader implications.

My views on this have been made clear elsewhere and I think it becomes at some point ‘political’: we tend, wisely, to avoid that here. Hard to do at times when one comes unavoidably face to face with these issues in tech. I struggle a lot with this issue

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How did you set up a shortcut alert to show up every hour? I tried with auto snooze in due.app but I was always tempted to complete the task. Or was it one task per hour?

Might try it for a week to log where I spent my time in the last hour.