Carefully Choose What You Consume on Internet.
To not ruin your reading experience, I will list relevant links at the end of the article.
What you are consuming has an impact on your mind and personality. What we read is one of the most effective ways to learn.
Recently I have talked about industry change in gaming. I have seen this in mainstream consumption too. But before I get to that, let me give you some ideas on how it affects us.
Consumption Make Us.
You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with.
- Jim Rohn
It shapes our views. How we perceive the world and how we react to things.
There was this interesting thing I learned, to Think Like A Scientist.
Usually, what happens is when you get rejected for something. Or you have failed to close the deal. Or failed to impress investors. Rather than thinking, 'I am awful., 'I never get anything correct'. Think like a scientist.
Why did this happen? What I can do to avoid that in the future. What I need to learn more about will make it impossible for me to fail precisely like this again.
Remember, your mind is a thought factory. It develops thoughts all the time. If you don't feed your mind with something useful, it won't stop to generate good thoughts and keep developing the bad ones.
That's why consider your consumption, what you are reading, what you are listening to, what you are viewing. It all leads to generate thoughts that you came across every day.
This brings me to how long this has started happening. A device that we all have with us 24/7 hours. Everyday. The mighty Smartphone.
It's fast. You can find anything you want. Just like using a band-aid for everything possible. Even finding a life partner with a swipe.
Our smartphone is conditioned us to look for quick and small fixes. It's making us outsource our brain for memorization, which isn't a bad thing. With a google search, you can view the year when the French Revolution started.
But after some interval of usage. Its also making us outsource our critical thinking ability. This is the skill we are losing.
So rather than searching online to find what you like. Why don't you try to go solitude to see what is really making you?
Types Of Content.
And you can find these two types of content everywhere. Written or visual.
Let's take YouTube as an example.
You can find channels that sometimes give you a sense of learning something. Something that will entertain you. And sometimes that will help you better in your life.
Talking about YouTube, a fantastic algorithm will recommend the exact best video that you want to watch on their homepage. No two homepages are the same.
But here is what I have found funny. Some channels genuinely want to suck your time.
5 Minute Craft with their clickbaity titles and thumbnail and attractive new colors. Thanks to our novelty-seeking brain (always hunting for something new), those colorful, beautiful pseudo-life hacks make us feel like we are learning something. Making it little effort to enjoy those videos. But most of them are fake life hacks. Hacks are defined as something which isn't publicly available that will give you something unique ability. But with one condition. They must work. And it doesn't in the case of a 5-minute craft channel.
But there is another dimension of content. Video essays. Documentaries. How-Tos. Tutorials.
You can find channels like,
Every frame a picture. Academy of ideas. Or Jordan Peterson long-form lectures. CineFix. Actualized org. To name a few.
They target a very narrow audience. They have primarily focused on providing and sharing their insights. And experience. I don't think they make videos while keeping YouTube's format in mind. They usually do not represent flashy colors. Who wanna watch a video with no cuts (for an hour) and a bald man talking? (Actualized). But what he says to make all the difference. That's how I get value from him. Here, the form doesn't matter at all.
I am not saying that content that looks very appealing like 5minutecraft have all had zero utility. Some channels do both in blend magically.
You have to make an effort while watching those long forms. I take notes while waiting on my commonplace diary and my mini journal as per the effort rule.
Firstly you have to control the impulsive to click away. And somewhat force yourself to watch it.
That type of content made you take notes. But also gives the most output. You learn a ton. It contains a high concentration of tools and insights you can learn from. And sometimes, I get overwhelmed. I have also uploaded my notes.
And usually, what I see today is people are more interested in oversimplification of things into one image. That's why quotes are pretty famous. Where you don't even know if this is legit or not. Because reading a book requires effort. And sometimes, when you read a book, you have to go through a ton of stories that you don't want to read. But the author tries to make it stick because we learn best by stories.
Social media: where content that isn't visually appealing can't survive. Making the metric of value zero. That's the reason why it's easier to spread fake news on social media.
People don't bother to look in-depth. Don't bother to care (other than the trivial act of liking the image). And that's what their app developers condition there.
Art has nothing to do with marketing. Other than reaching more people. That's why we are encountering a ton of fake gurus. Those who now built a business to sell you a lifestyle. There people who advertise their service in the name of wisdom. While showings off their big homes. They try to sell you the lifestyle. Not to teach you a real skill. (I am not trying to give marketing a bad name. I love marketing. I am talking about cases where marketing is 100, and their product is 0.)
The Big Picture
That's why I believe that the golden age of the Internet has gone already. Where anything could go viral with little effort. The web starts to mature now. Companies that have user data are now needed to be responsible. Because with that data, tangible damage can be done.
Including myself, when I used to use a ton of social media. I feel like my thoughts get manipulated pretty easily. I am now seeing in the news, reading their strategies. So that you spend as much time as possible on the platform, it only made my belief come true. It also had pretty significant consequences on things that have tremendous importance in our daily life like the manipulation of Elections.
But it also means that people on the Internet know what and how things really worked. People now know that getting health advice from someone stranger online is not appropriate. And even Google is discouraging it.
This means advanced users will find it more valuable to read an article that has an author's observations, insights, his personality embedded in it and experience, and, most importantly, being honest. Not a 10-tips-to-do-something that teaches you nothing at the end.
I always wanted to write online and have my own website half a decade ago. But the advice I get was to get a domain that acts as a clue about what you write. In which niche you want to write about. And following it means that I would have to stick to that thing only. And after some time, I know, I can't write about something forever. So it made me very uncomfortable. It is making me unactionable towards the next step.
At that time. What I have learned is that you start a website for the sole purpose of making money only. And to make money, you need to have a catchy title (clickbait), a ton of images. And I don't follow any of these.
But that advice was for those who want to exploit. Now, everywhere where there is value. You win there.
Then I learned that having a website does not means just How much traffic you getting or how much money you are making. Was that a website is like a public space to document your thoughts for the world to read. And to build one of the most critical skills. Writing skill. You and your readers both get value out of this.
Cal Newport has made an unusual argument regarding this. And also its humbling too.
If you start blogging and offering your thoughts online, it is increasingly difficult to find or build an audience. However, if you have something substantial to contribute by sharing your thoughts online, eventually, people online will find you, and they will respond with much greater authenticity than what you could ever get via immaterial Facebook or Instagram "likes." Just consider how much more effort it would take for someone to write a thoughtful comment or an email to a post that has resonated with the reader.
- Cal Newport.
Cal Newport had made me quit Facebook and develop my own social Internet (the website you are reading on).
Long-form essays and essay videos are not easy to find. And heck, when you find one, it usually not the most excellent time to read currently. They don't write essays to generate ad revenue. They typically document their findings. Their thoughts and researches. Observations. And that's what I am trying to achieve.
Long-form articles and essays where research and experience go in. Not just a research paper. But are pretty long because of extensive interviews or deep thought that goes into.
Stop feeding, clickbait blog posts to your brain. Switch to long-form essays and articles. You are what you supply. Reading deep stuff helps our brain the ability to go on more deep while doing other tasks. Going shallow hinders our ability to work intensely for a long time.
I have stopped reading one line heading news app. I love knappily now, which has given me two ways to control.
I can now read about what really means to me — for example, about rather than reading everything from every news site. Their articles are usually in-depth and everything material that I need to know.
How To Get Started?
Do not lose the skill to read deeply. This will train your muscles. And it helps in removing the habit of carving impulsive content. You are training your brain to focus intensely. Read deeply. So rather than living on the Internet. Use the Internet to live better. Put in action what you learn from it.
Try reading without having an internet connection if you have found a great article. Save it to your notetaking app to read it offline later. But keep a watch on how and what you consume.
Thank you all so much for reading. It means a lot to me.
My article on reading. Being a Polymath.
My article on gaming. Gaming Transformation into Cinema.
Learn about my mini note diary. Mini Note | Remember More.
The skill we are losing. YouTube video by Thomas Frank.
Those fake guys claim to be gurus. Fake gurus exposed by CoffeeZilla YouTube channel.
Internet Golden Age is over. A Youtube Video Essay.
Photo by Roberto Nickson.