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Joshua Whiting

learner, writer, creator, librarianish person

Link - Filterworld - Algorithm Cleanse

Type: Essay / Newsletter
Source: Kyle Chayka Industries (via Substack)

“It has taken a while for my brain to get used to that novel sense of finitude, though I think the withdrawal is subsiding. Plenty of products offer a more curated, less overwhelming version of the internet, but I think we’ve actually become conditioned to its chaos and grown to expect it. It’ll take more effort to re-train ourselves to finding things without the help of algorithmic feeds and then being satisfied with what we find. We have to quieten that internal internet-pilled voice that says more, more, more, new, new, new every minute.”

This resonates with my experience after leaving social media wholesale about 9 months ago.

Differences:

  • He has only been off of algorithms for a week and a half so far.
  • He is a journalist/writer/“content creator”-type person by profession, so the stakes are higher for him. Stakes were pretty low for me -
    • professionally because I have so many other things to do at work besides mess with social media and my boss doesn’t seem to care, its not a priority; and
    • personally I don’t really have any friends, because I’m asocial or misanthropic or a sociopath or something. (No, probably not a sociopath - they usually cultivate a bunch of fake friends and followers so that they can manipulate them.)
  • I got addicted to the Apple News app for a while after I gave up Facebook, Insta etc., and it was almost as much of a problem for me as the others had been. I’ve come to recognize my relationship to email to be a problem, too. I wasn’t recognizing or pinpointing a true source of the problem at first: that constant desire for random new inputs to fill and distract.

“Writers contribute to the feeds as much as we consume them, propelling the endless loop of vacuity. Posting is an addiction, too, and while I certainly suffer from it, I think all that energy is now expressed in my more serious writing, which is probably a good thing. Without the daily outlet of tweeting my random thoughts and getting instantaneous feedback — lols, likes, DMs — I’m also feeling grateful for this newsletter, where I can publish something and know it’ll get to an audience that welcomes what I’m doing.”"

  • I’ve intermittently posted random bits of what I might once have posted on social media platforms (such as this very note) here on this little website. I’m not sure that anyone other than my son ever occasionally looks at this, so it might be sort of the equivalent of his fidget apps but for the posting/sharing side of things. This is something that gives me the feeling of having communicated or expressed myself without contributing to the mess of social media, without anyone ever having to see it. Or I like to think I’m following after Thoreau, Dickinson, etc. What if Emily Dickinson had had the Internet? Would she do hot takes on twitter, keep a weird indieweb website, or just still be offline making her handmade fascicles anyway? (People who never joined social media do exist. Conversely, I think some people who I know “in real life” and thought weren’t on social media might secretly be on social media. The transparently online with their real names are just a small subset of the population.)
  • I’ve experimented with following RSS feeds, and might do more with that, but right now I’m not looking at them.
  • And I might even get back into social media again at some point, in some way.

I’m excited to read this Filterworld book once it is finished. And Dirt is a newsletter worth subscribing to. I just signed up to lurk on their Discord. We will see if I get kicked off for ruining their scene or something - I don’t really know how Discord works if they can even do that; But Dirt seems like a cool place and I just feel like I have a long history, going back to before even the hipster garabe times, of my presence and interest in a scene or culture being the indicator that it is no longer cool. Sorry, I’m coming to silently ruin your scene.


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Format / Genre: links quotes reading updates updates
People: Kyle Chayka
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Topics: hypertext algorithms intentionality news social media reading metablogging
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