This Post is Garbage
I need to get off Medium.
This past March, I started writing week-daily on my website. Inspired by the words of Seth Godin and David Perell, I just wanted to write. I fell in love with it, working through my ideas and presenting them to the world. It’s a practice that is ostensibly a win for everyone — I get to write and my readers get to learn from my lessons.
But, I feel like a hypocrite.
I am a strong advocate for digital minimalism, and I understand that my best life is one with minimal social media use. Every time I check my phone, I am bombarded with articles curated to steal away my attention.
Google has recently noticed by sudden interest in basketball (piqued by some conversations with friends). The “Discover” section has already adapted. An article about Luka Doncic, one about Kevin Garnett, and another about Lebron James fill my feed. Then, of course, there’s the ads for a new ultrawide monitor and a Tesla story (two of the very few products I would actually purchase if I had the money).
Google knows what I like, and they want me to eat it up. Those stories, though, are mostly garbage. Empty, needless attention-grabbers that divert me away from intentional living towards mindless consumption. It would be inauthentic to ignore my role in promoting this consumption.
The internet gains 2.5 quintillion bits of information each day. In the human lifetime, you can accumulate less than a billionth of that information. There’s an overload of data that we are constantly pushing into the internet, and I think we can all agree that information overload is causing significant issues for individuals. Often addicted to our devices, technology is increasingly optimized to steal away our attention. Seth Godin presents a bleak future for this dynamic: “If you optimize a website enough, it will become a porn site.”
Our attention is their money, and the increasing amount of trash that we throw on to the internet ensures we will never run out of stuff to mindlessly click, scroll, and watch.
So, is my addition of information to the internet a problem? Some of the stuff I put out is not quality. I feel like a charlatan, sharing my 18-year-old opinions with the world. I don’t have a degree in the stuff I talk about. Nor do I know much more than a few hours of research could get someone.
When the most successful stories follow the listicle format with misleading titles and false promises, I don’t know what to do. Do I try to highjack the attention of readers, reeling them in and not letting them go? Do I focus on the quality of my ideas rather than the quantity of readers? I don’t know.
It’s the rare comment from a new reader that keeps me posting. The times that someone actually gets value from my ideas. While I know I shouldn’t be looking for external validation for my writing, it’s those moments that remind me that what I’m doing is good.
I plan to forge ahead for now, keeping in mind that art is selfless and that maybe my writing will contribute to the knowledge of myself and others.