Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Author: Cal Newport (He does not have any social media accounts)

First time I came across digital minimalism from a Cal youtube video called “Quit Social Media”. The talk was interesting on how social media influence our behavior and from which we are missing out on real-world conversations. This was one of the chapters of his book called “Deep work” where he explains why people not able to deep work because of social media distractions. That chapter got a lot more attention. So he moves that one chapter into an entire book.

This book is about why we should minimize the use of social media and instead spend more on other leisure activities like have a real conversation with people, spending some time alone, joining a sport or community group to keep that social communication alive instead of just hitting like button and comments.

The author also explains why it’s hard for people to put down their phones and do something else. Why they so addicted to it. We are living in the attention economy. A company that gets more attention from people will generate more revenue. These companies had spent millions of dollars to create such products to get your attention.

The author also ran a 30 day quit social media experiment. People who quit social media for 30 days realized that they are spending an unnecessary amount of time on social media which they thought was important. It was difficult for them for the first week to not check their phone frequently. But it got normal after the second week.

This book is not about social media is so much bad and don’t use it all. This is more about controlling the usage of these services. Use social media in control manner has a lot of advantages as well. Choose those services which add a high value to your life/work. It’s not about why you use it. It’s about how you use it.

People who need to have a social media presence as part of their job can use this on a more controller and scheduled basis.

I also believe in the same line. As a developer if you want to market yourself then social media is a great tool. I found many good friends and connections from social media. I follow people and pages which provide high-value content and resources which help me to grow as a developer. But using too much of it causes issues like getting on an argument with people online or getting distracted from actual work.

I would also recommend you watch this documentary on Netflix.

  1. Social Dilemma to understand how social media can change your behavior.
  2. A Great Hack on understanding your data privacy and how your data can be used.

Highlighted Quotes:

  1. They joined Facebook to stay in touch with friends across the country, and then ended up unable to maintain an uninterrupted conversation with the friend sitting across the table.
  2. In an open marketplace for attention, darker emotions attract more eyeballs than positive and constructive thoughts.
  3. Minimalists don’t mind missing out on small things; what worries them Much more is diminishing the large things they already know for sure make a good life good.
  4. Optimizing how we use technology is just as important as how we choose what technologies to use in the first place.
  5. Be in the world, but not of it.
  6. โ€œWhere we want to be cautious … is when the sound of a voice or a cup of coffee with a friend is replaced with likes’ on a post.โ€
  7. Being less available over text, in other words, has a way of paradoxically strengthening your relationship even while making you (slightly) less available to those you care about.

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