22 September 2010

Meditation comes with unsubscribing

Since I've scaled back the people I follow on Twitter and trimmed back the blogs I subscribe to, I feel less anxious and excitable. Perhaps those are two sides of the same feeling. There's nothing unworthy or discreditable about the people I've stopped attending to, it's that their message is superfluous in the big scheme of things. It's like closely watching the Times Square neon ticker sign with the feeling you'd miss some important tidbit, if you looked away for a second.

Two kinds of reporting get my attention too easily, Mashable stories and the ones like this one, on the future of the book. Mashable reports on a lot of banal social media stuff and makes it look enticing. I like to pride myself on being ahead of the curve on social media stuff, but I can do so by reading them once every couple of weeks. The future of the book piece is one of those ideational stories that always hook me in. I'm a sucker for what-if scenarios. Potential is so seductive and technology has so much potential, doesn't it?

Potential is a trap though; it keeps us focused on the future and attuned to the uneasiness and excitement the future holds out to us. In the example above, I'm actually saying that more is worse, not better, and that my notions of time, future and change are easily swept out of my control. It's not surprising then that Lifehacker's continuous flow of productivity tips from reviews of apps to workplace strategies caught my breath for a heartbeat. Feeling out of control, I was a willing comrade in the fight against capitalist exploitation of my time. "Give me new productivity ideas!" was what I first thought, until I realized I was being duped again.