I think I do pretty well already, but I plan to do better.
Better content consumption for better thinking.
A month or so ago I read a post entitled It’s Time to Embrace Digital Nutrition which I thought was well timed given the approaching rolling over of the year. It has thoughts about content ratings systems that I have doubts about, but the general post was good, and this quote was on point:
Of course, many people don’t want to adopt healthier diets, whether it comes to food or digital content. We all need more than room temperature water and steamed vegetables to survive and thrive. But as with eating, it’s nearly impossible to achieve better emotional health or balance without at least a basic understanding of digital nutrition and how specific experiences or content types actually affect your brain and broader sense of well-being.
A lot of my content consumption is reading, a ton of it online, which is true for most of us right? This year I don’t plan to read more, I plan to read better.
In 2019 I plan to read more books. I started down that road in 2018 but I plan to kick it up a notch this year. Good books can inform better, more deeply, with more context. Corollary, if it’s not a good book, stop reading it. Better, not more.
Read timelines less frequently. We forget that not that long ago we weren’t checking on what everyone we know is doing constantly, and that was fine. (this is an area current social media tech sucks)
Choose when it is worthwhile to engage in an online debate. Debate is a very valuable thing to do that between open-minded participants can lead to better understanding for all involved. But, when was the last time you came out of an online debate feeling that way. Probably infrequently; so let’s see if we can learn which ones have a good likelihood of turning out that way, and skip the others.
I’m going to try and ignore politically themed memes, the unhealthy snacking of online content. They drop too much context to be anything more than straw man bashing. Which can be satisfying, but won’t help me learn when I’m wrong.
I feel like 2018 was the year that the importance of our digital diet really bubbled up and the unhealthy relationship we can have with our content interaction headed for some critical mass. You saw that in the #deletefacebook trend and posts like this one: The Psychological Toll of Becoming an Instagram Influencer. The following quote is about paid influencers specifically, but especially if you know a teen on Instagram doesn’t this apply just as well to them?
… making Instagram a reliable part of your income is a taxing process, and it can take a serious psychological toll. Many of the 12 influencers I spoke with while researching this story said they felt tied to a static, inauthentic identity. They often lamented their inability to put down their phones and laptops and said they were constantly online. If you want to be an influencer, you need to interact with your audience at all hours; taking a break is considered a big no-no.
Interestingly, this is the other side of the coin of the effect where we think other peoples’ lives are better than ours, since we see theirs through the filter of their updates but know the reality of our own. Important to keep in mind, or perhaps another reason to cut back.
Those are a few of my personal thoughts on healthy digital diet for 2019. I wish that we had better online tools for helping us with this, and I’ll be thinking about that this year too.
All that said, there’s a couple things I’ll definitely still do. Just like having too many helpings sometimes or extra dessert or a drink now or then, moderation is key and variety is important.
I’ll binge watch good shows (currently, Better Call Saul). Definitely looking forward to Game of Thrones continuing.
I’ll definitely read posts/articles with opposing views to mine (both to understand other points of view and to help discover when I’m wrong).
And I’ll happily spend my valuable time on blogs and podcasts that have proven their worth. For me that includes especially anything Jerry Neumann puts up on his Reaction Wheel blog or anything from the You Are Not So Smart or Invest Like the Best podcasts.
Bottom line I guess: if you care what goes into your body or what you use it for, then give your mind the same consideration. Here’s to a 2019 full of learning and growth!