Should I use dental floss tonight or not? Because you know, I like to ponder about the important things in the world.
Appropriate for Reddit/Slashdot, not HN.
"Impact" is getting polluted with vanity metrics and wealth.
it's called opinion for a reason. people do think out loud. discuss or dissect it. don't belittle it with snark.
But when I see an article about "the destruction of the world", and really, it's about push notifications reducing the ability to concentrate for some workers (too many, by the article/speaker argument) well I feel that the author either wants self gratification (I do have an impact on the world after all!) or that it is a misleading/linkbaiting operation.
I'm actually still resisting a smart phone (much to my friends' chagrin), because while I'm at the computer 10 hours a day, the rest of the time, I actually enjoy not "having" to check my email, twitter, facebook constantly because of push notifications.
I would say the same thing, except that resistance implies that there's a significant chance that I'll give in.
No matter how it's spun, I'm not putting a GPS spying device in my pocket.
It's nice to have, but maybe not worth the extra cost TBH...
I quit using a cell phone once I realized it was killing my concentration (and a Palm Pre is a hard thing to give up). I haven't used Twitter in months, Facebook sees me like once a week, and my email is quickly sorted (with the help of Webos 3.0's amazing mail client) once in the morning or whenever I feel like it.
I have a feeling a lot more people will try this in the next few years (and they'll love it).
What's the solution? Maybe we need to try harder to add addictive properties to activities we value. Or maybe we need a cultural movement away from things that are low-value and addictive to things that are high-value but not very addictive. It's difficult, because almost anything that's fun is potentially addictive. Reading, coding, and exercise are all valuable and can all be addictive. Not all addictions are equal. Running for two hours a day is probably better than playing Farmville for two hours a day.
I think that Matt's comments hit home because we're often in a position now of building things that lock people into harmful addictive behaviors. We all have to ask ourselves whether the work we do is valuable, or just lucrative.
After reading GTD for Hackers, I kept thinking about ways to keep the momentum going after the initial excitement wore off… perhaps gamifying email and/or tasks (I hate that word, but it works).
But truly it is scary.
I lose days just reading HN, Paul Graham, Rodgers and that's after closing 20 tabs of webcomics, hardware and software news etc.
I think the only way out is as PG said it, actively fighting it - shutdown your computer, close them tabs, work on a good old console only linux, destroy skynet ?
My take is that in the end, we're all animals, but our self-awareness enables us to manipulate ourselves into doing what we want ( a bit like some article about pavlovian start your computer, fire up git and all that - don't remember who or when) - i.e. by consciously addicting ourselves to what we want to be doing.
I should get into that a bit more though -- seeing how I still read HN etc.
You have absolutely no real basis at all. And if you're going to open up that can of worms, there are roughly a zillion other issues that have to then be judged harshly and treated with equal disdain.
That slut you slept with last night, the one you picked up for a one night stand from the bar. How dare you waste your time in such a shallow and frivolous fashion. Sluts are destroying the world!
What you're talking about are lifestyle choices on how people choose to spend their time. You might as well start taking up positions against homosexuality and judging people for their lifestyle choices more broadly, because it's exactly the same thing.
As an early adopter of mail, facebook and tweeter(back from the early days, "hey, HN could you test my idea?") I had to develop antibodies for distractions and I don't use tweeter, for facebook anymore(mail only at the end of the day). Reading only HN briefly. It works like a charm.
I don't think those are necessarily the only or most important things losing out to all this "panem et circenses", which is really what a lot of these things are. Distraction has been used for a long time!
Its like Twitter. It can be horribly distracting and engaging. It can interrupt your work and even conversations you may be having. At the same time you can turn off whatever app you have and it will disappear completely from your life until you turn it back on.
The majority of people know their limits and can decide how much they want a specific app/technology/whatever to impact their day-to-day lives.
I would say some people know their limits, but if you look at the number of people who walk around with their eyes glued to their iphone, I'd really question that the majority do.
However, seeing somebody on their phone briefly doesn't tell you anything. How sure can you be that that passing glance at a person while they were on their phone wasn't the first and only time of the day?
What percent of people fit this criteria? I'd wager that a good portion of them only moderately use their devices. It just seems when you are seen by others doing something you rarely do, they assume you do it all day every day and are obsessed.
tldr; People watching isn't an indicator of how often individual people do things, just how many people are doing something at any given time.
Matt was saying that lots of people as a whole have a hard time focusing. Sure, there are people that can focus here and there but so many people are tied to their devices that it can be demonstrated as a trend. While every trend has anomalies, those anomalies don't mean that the trend is nonexistent.
Separately, what's with the sarcasm? Do you think that tone makes you more persuasive?
People prefer posts with photos that scroll, not a slideshow (WordPress Gallery). Many posts I do (mainly the ones about Occupy Wall Street) can have over one hundred photos. These photos have to be placed one-by-one manually. There is no "Place All" button that just plops them all into a post (we have bulk upload now, but not bulk Place).
If he is so concerned about making the world a better place, he can start there. That is something he can actually do.
Why wait for Matt and his team to do it for you?
Edited after testing: OK, I tried what you suggested. That's better than nothing but not what I mean. Gallery doesn't let me put text in between the photos. That's why Place All is still necessary.
Plus it wouldn't hurt if people though about the WHY of what they are dOing
Might as well question whether soap opera's, tabloids, espn, disney, movies, television in general, music, and just about every other form of entertainment and media stimulation are destroying the world. After all, isn't modern music crap? Was FRIENDS really worth spending all that time watching? Who really needs to watch 50 NFL games per year? Could there be a greater waste of time than NASCAR? Most movies are an extreme waste of time because they're so terrible, so why make them?
It's a completely absurd premise, and it applies just as well to all media as it does to Twitter or Facebook or Wordpress.
There are often two camps when it comes to topics like this - the free-will proponents who posit that people's behaviors and choices are based on their own conscious, controllable volition. Then there are the contextualists, who would have us believe that people behave as the system dictates and can be held blameless for their failings.
The truth is, naturally, somewhere in between. We can suggest that people are negatively influenced by certain things without denying them free will and personal responsibility.
> "It's not your choice, it's not your life, it's none of your business."
Note that Mr. Mullenweg didn't suggest that systems be designed to actively curb this behavior. There are no Big Brother nor Nanny State overtones to this at all.
> "If people want to spend their time reading blogs and Twitter, who are you to say otherwise?"
Again, nobody has tabled that we should disallow people from reading blogs all day. Mr. Mullenweg seems to be feeling guilt that he's helped create something that may have a negative overall impact on many of its users.
Imagine if you've created the world's most addictive cigarette and completely cornered the market. People all around the world are lighting these things up by the packloads. You wouldn't feel any concern, or even guilt? Surely this is not as simple as "these people are adults, if they smoke like a chimney it's their own damn fault". That logic applies just as easily to crack cocaine or war, and represents the most extreme end of the "free will" argument.
> "and it applies just as well to all media as it does to Twitter or Facebook or Wordpress."
And it does. This is the nation that, after all, invented the TV dinner and the couch potato. In fact, TV's influence on society is a big can o' worms. If Mr. Mullenweg wants to feel better about his role in the creation of new media, he may want to take note that the Internet is the first thing in 50 years to get people off the damn couch and onto a far more interactive, more informative medium. The Internet has some serious information addiction problems that we're just scratching the surface of - but IMO it beats the pants off what it replaced.
Information addiction in general does not have me overly concerned about the future of society and the Internet. What does worry me is the growth of the personalized web - we are very, very rapidly sailing into a future where a person would never have to hear a single word of dissent to their own beliefs. This troubles me more than any other issue that faces the Internet today.
I concur. I don't think this is limited to online interactions either. There were stories a few years ago of how people in the real world were increasingly moving to be near like-minded people (and the negative effects this had on reinforcing their world-views). Wish I could find the story but no luck.