Digital Minimalism

The liquor store I’ve patronized for years. Captured with Sony A7Sii in raw format using a Konica 40mm f/1.8 at f/8. Slight post-processing with Iridient Developer (contrast, saturation/vibrance, a bit of sharpening, and a resize for the web).

I am currently busier than a one-armed paper hanger with a backlog of work. I am not complaining; it is a blessing to have work and I am deeply grateful for God’s provision.

I am examining my use of the Internet. I bought my first smartphone, an original iPhone, not long after they were released. My intent was to combine two devices — an iPod and a mobile phone. I thought this might be a smart thing to do. Now, I am not so sure.

As time passed, developers realized they had a substantial handheld computer available. Then came social media1. And, as it is said, the game was on.

I have little use for Facebook. I might have been compulsive about it some years ago. But I am not. I will check sometimes twice a day, usually only once in the even as I settle down. I like to see posts from my friends and family (a limited number of said) and respond to comments on my posts. I do not post a lot. What I do post is links from this weblog and sometimes music from YouTube.

Instagram was wonderful when I first found it. There were lots of content creators, some of them wonderful photographers, and I both enjoyed seeing their art and I learned from it. Then Facebook bought it and the algorithms took over. Now it is a mess of stuff I do not necessarily want to see. But I find myself doomscrolling looking for the dopamine hit when I find something interesting or amusing.

A month or two ago I deleted the app from my iPhone. When I thought I was over my addiction I reinstalled the app. Meh… nope, I am not over my addiction. Worse, the algorithm seems to be biased towards the base and I have no interest in that.

Now, enter a book by Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism. I am not sure where the connection occurred, but I found myself with a sample on my Kindle and started reading it. I am the point where I am considering (for the second time) selling my iPhone and buying a Light Phone 2. I will have more to say about that later.

I am not interested in what the Facebook algorithms want me to see, mostly. I am not interested in spending more time than necessary with the Internet. It can be a useful tool, but it is more likely to be a tremendous time sink that provides little value for the time invested.

Reenter Cal Newport’s book. Once again, I deleted the IG app. I deleted the Reuters new app. I deleted several other apps from my iPhone. I no longer keep a browser tab open to my YT subscription feed. I plan to cull my YT subscription feed, when I go back to watching YT again. (However, I would note that I generally do not doomwatch YT videos. Plus, videos that are more than about 15 minutes in length do not get watched either.)

I did not delete my Vero app from my iPhone. I DO NOT doomscroll Vero. My Vero feed is exactly what I want it to be — those photographers that make images I want to see. It is not a problem and I check it only once or twice a day.

I expect to finish Digital Minimalism next week sometime. I began my digital detox this week. I plan to stick to it for a month. There might be other sites and apps that I delete, now that I deleted several that I used too much.

Why am I doing this? I have written here many times before, but I want to be more intentional about my use of the Internet. Music, photography, reading, and writing are far more satisfying than having Instagram pushing titties at me2. So, it will be an interesting experiment to see if I can reset myself and get to the point where I waste much less time on the Internet and spend more time with creative work that will be so much more satisfying.

1Or as I often call it, antisocial media.
2I did say that the IG algorithms seem to be biased towards the base.