1. The world's best reading app

    Great articles, no ads. Get started for free.

    The New YorkerJia Tolentino4/22/1921 min
    15 reads9 comments
    8.6
    The New Yorker
    15 reads
    8.6
    You must read the article before you can post or reply.
    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeReading streakScout
      1 year ago

      More than twenty years ago, the writer Michael Goldhaber observed, in Wired, that the Internet drowns its users in information while constantly increasing information production; this makes attention a scarce and desirable resource—the “natural economy of cyberspace.” Goldhaber speculated that, when the “attention economy” had matured, nearly everyone would have her own Web site, and he warned readers that “increasing demand for our limited attention will keep us from reflecting, or thinking deeply (let alone enjoying leisure).” In other words, he roughly outlined the social-media age.

    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      2 years ago

      This is by far the best article I have read on the dangers of technology. Incredibly well written, engaging and of monumental importance. It’s a really fresh idea by Jenny Odell to come up with a Philosophy of Modern Life - “manifest dismantling.” She says, “The best, most alive parts of ourselves are being paved over by a ruthless logic of use.” She adds, “Crisis in our natural world and crisis in our minds; is happening to us and it’s happening on the same soon-to-be-irreparable scale; both are endangered by the logic of capitalist productivity.” The phase “the best, most alive parts of ourselves” - how can we not be deeply alarmed that we are allowing others to take this from us? If you think this article is alarmist and ridiculous, please try to disconnect if even for a day and see for yourself. I’m a firm believer in being your own experiment. I do think everything comes down to the individual when is comes to a revolution of change because we need our best selves to come forward in mass. The collective high energy of inspired actions can work miracles. We must hold the vibration of our new vision and put into practice the manifest dismantling.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        2 years ago

        Beautiful comment.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScout
      2 years ago

      I love everything Jia writes, and I especially loved this one because it's right in my wheelhouse. Some parts though felt quite sadly pessimistic. Like this sentence:

      It is hard to grasp how individual acts of refusal would build collective momentum outside the platforms that they aim to refuse.

      I continue to believe that how we live makes a difference. And call me corny, but I'm all about that Ghandi quote: Be the change you want to see. My social media boycott marches on.

      • theadima2 years ago

        I agree. I have been a fan of Cal's book and have been struggling with regulating my internet use despite being off social media for more than two years.

        People closest to me know my aversion to addictive technology. When I report my reasons for it, they seem to agree. But they just don't make any restrictions themselves. But some have tried.

        Halfway through the detox, I can proudly say that I am more self-aware and spend my time in good leisure activities. And I am definitely not going to use the internet the way I did pre-detox.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScout
          2 years ago

          Awesome. Keep it up!

          Leisure activities are the best. (Reading is one of my favorites.) I've been on the detox train for so long that I have found myself taking time off from the leisure activities, haha. Just to walk around or sit in a nice spot. I call it "nothing" time. I'd like to have more full "nothing" days. Of course they end up filled with excitement and joy, but it's great to start with a blank slate.

          • theadima2 years ago

            Yeah. It is awesome.

            I too have "nothing" time because daydreaming is a huge part of my life. Now I have coupled it up with meditation and journaling, I am learning new things about myself.

            But the biggest thing that the detox has given me is a mindset that I can actually do things. Even though I have a mile long to-do list, now I feel like I will have both the time and discipline to at least do some of the things. In the past, I always used to wonder whether I'll have the time.

            Also, I'd much rather procrastinate by reading a book or watching a good movie rather than browsing Reddit or YouTube.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        2 years ago

        This is the paragraph:

        I first began tweeting about seven years ago, after I’d moved from Texas to Michigan to get an M.F.A. I began publishing essays and interviews, and tweeting links to them; to make my Twitter account less boring, I shared my most earnest and most flippant thoughts. I got a part-time job as an editor, and then a full-time one, in New York, and then a writing job at this magazine. My ability—my eagerness, even—to render myself digitally available played a role in this: by giving the attention economy access to my selfhood, I accrued the professional capital that now allows me to stop doing so, if I want to. Odell, who uses Twitter, and believes that “total renunciation” of such a culturally central medium would be, for her, both a moral and a pragmatic mistake, recognizes that this is a time “when everyone from Amazon workers to college students see their margin of refusal shrinking, and the stakes for playing along growing.”

        "Culturally central" is a bit problematic. Historically, it's been extremely important for people to buck unethical cultural norms, especially those who are in a position to do so. (Should we consider it a form of privilege?) Tolentino's ultimate rationale, I guess, is hidden in the blank space right after "if I want to." (And I'm practically shouting: "Wait - Don't you want to!?!")

        I'm thankful that Cal is walking the walk. And I think that he's really proving that non-use can be it's own form of brand-enhancement that ultimately increases reach.

    • Joemat412 years ago

      Very illuminating