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I'm seriously worried about this generation's inability to stop scrolling their social feeds nonstop. You don't have to start a company in your free time. You don't have to create things or contribute to the world. But please enjoy your lives. Read a book. Do some gardening. Learn to bake. Watch junk TV. Do anything other than constantly comparing yourself to what acquaintances are doing this second.



It’s also the need to monetize everything in your life. The “hustle” life, glorifying entrepreneurship, and the need to “advance your personal brand” were big statements made when I was in college. This was right when LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter were hitting exponential growth (Facebook already had many years earlier).

Either it’s because I personally experienced the Great Recession, the launch of social media and the iPhone, and my worldview expanded greatly as one does in undergrad all at once, or it really is a new phenomenon that your employer has no loyalty to you, so one must rely on their own. With social media, these themes are just further perpetuated and there’s a pressure to start companies.

I’ve already worked my ass off at my day job, and just want my hobbies to not turn into side projects or “side hustles”. I don’t intend on starting companies based on them.


Not just monetize but package. For a while, I measured experience in terms of likes, upvotes and views. Being there wasn't enough. I had to check in and prove that I have fun. Curating my online life put a lot of pressure on me, even when money wasn't involved.


> Watch junk TV

Agreed with you until this point. At least the junk TV I know also involves (be it consciously or not) comparing yourself, this time with celebrities instead of acquaintances.


For me it has to be the right kind of junk. There's junk, like in a junkyard, and then there's a toxic waste dump. Stick with the junkyard. The stronger a show's resemblance to your current reality, the more likely you'll find someone in it with whom to compare yourself. So right off the bat, so-called "reality" TV is off the table. Anything where you're able to forget about "you" and be transported into someone else's world, is good. That takes good writing, i.e. yes, an actual script. Old stuff works too - anything so old that you can't possibly imagine yourself in that milieu, that helps. We watch old Columbo episodes from the 70s on network TV on Sunday nights. Granted we are then bombarded with ads for Sono Bello, Consumer Cellular, and every drug on the market (and then ads for the lawyers suing the makers of last year's drugs), and anything else an advertiser has deemed likely to appeal to the demographic that cares about Columbo or the 70s... and all those ads in themselves are an assault on your self-esteem, so just mute that shit or do chores.

Mostly though it just takes time to build a life, and a you, that you love enough that you win most of those comparisons to celebrities. Think about how most celebs are basically slaves in various ways: slaves to public opinion, to the Hollywood social hierarchy, to the crappy contracts under which most of them are laboring, and especially to the fear of not being famous/loved/accepted tomorrow, of being replaced by one of the thousands of others who (maybe just as tragically) would jump at the chance to have that person's shitty contract and precarious perch on the ladder of fame. Slaves to the empty holes in their souls that they have been filling with the quest for fame probably their whole lives. Ah, but to the extent that you spend time on social media, seeking approval from strangers, you are (or your avatar is) kind of a micro-celebrity and would tend to be plagued by all those same problems! So yeah, that ruins it. All the more reason to get the hell off of there, ideally permanently!


Although one shouldn't need to read a book on quitting social media. They can be cathartic if written well. I am fan of this one [0]. A favourite quote of mine from it:

>Cats have done the seemingly impossible: They’ve integrated themselves into the modern high-tech world without giving themselves up. They are still in charge. There is no worry that some stealthy meme crafted by algorithms and paid for by a creepy, hidden oligarch has taken over your cat. No one has taken over your cat; not you, not anyone.

Your writing here is now in the quote collection along with a number of other HN comments over the years. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

0. https://www.amazon.com/Arguments-Deleting-Social-Media-Accou...


Commenting just because I think this is well-said and would like to come back and read it again, from time to time. Nothing else of substance to add, but much thanks.


Nothing at all wrong with a good compliment (I thought it was well-written as well), but worth knowing that you can click the "n hours ago" link to get to the comment page, which has a "favorite" option, where you can collect a private library of favorite HN posts.


Heh, thanks, hope it helps somebody!


A more good-faith definition of junk TV might be "television with an emphasis on entertainment and a notable lack of educational content". No need for trash celebrities.


I see it as a bit of a feedback loop. I think that If you're the kind of person who is stuck in the mentality of having to be efficient and productive with every single second you have, then you're more prone to be the sort of person to try and keep up with the Jonses. But, if you're able to disconnect and to have a healthy work life balance then you're less likely to compare yourself to what you see.


Depends what you class as junk I guess. I'd say there's junk like sitcoms and the latest marvel tv series or whatever, you don't learn anything from it but you can relax and have a good time, and then there's absolute trash reality tv about celebrities and making fun of poor people. Junk tv is fine in reasonable amounts. Trash tv is on the same level as social media.


I’m seriously worried about my own ability to do those things. I’d throw my smartphone away, but there’s so many things that currently expect you to have one that it’s frankly impossible.


One interesting idea I have seen is getting a smartwatch with 4g and then leaving the phone at home. The watch is good enough to send an important text or take a phone call but its not good enough to scroll social media.


Deinstall the social apps, stay logged out of their web version, aggressively disable notifications, and turn off data unless you need it.


I completely agree.

In fact, it's useful to consider that many, if not most people do the job that they do not because they enjoy it or find it fulfilling, but because if they don't, they and/or their family will starve in the street.

If you have a job/career that's intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying, you already have it much better than a whole lot of other people.

And if that's the case for you, celebrate that!

While it may seem like if you aren't spending every waking moment focused on being able to write the most beautiful or performant code, or trying to found the next unicorn, that you're wasting your life.

And depending on who you are, that may be enough.

But I guarantee you, that when you're lying on your deathbed, you won't be thinking about how many patches you submitted to open source projects, how optimized your code is, or how numerous and helpful your StackExchange posts were.

It might surprise you to know that a very large number of people's primary interests/focus have absolutely nothing to do with how they support themselves.

In fact, there's a whole big world out there that has absolutely nothing to do with technology.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do, but as someone whose identity was strongly tied to my career for decades, while it was certainly worth it in many respects, my world could have been much richer and fuller if I'd taken the time to metaphorically stop and smell the roses.

So if you feel like you need to be "always on" and permanently focused on the next professional challenge/opportunity, maybe you could step back once in a while and consider not just what's good for you professionally, or will make you more competitive in the marketplace, but what gives you joy as a person.

For a lot of us, that's building technology. And that's a good thing.

But technology isn't the entire universe, and if you limit your focus and interests really narrowly, you're going to miss out on the beauty and the worthy challenges in the wider world.

Even more, having those non-work related interests/experiences can, give one a broader perspective on your professional life that makes you better and more useful/productive/engaged in your professional life.

I suggest taking Bill Shatner's advice[0] as a metaphor. Or don't. It's your life and that's (as it's always been) up to you.

[0] https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmagzq




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