Accepting we cannot do, see, read, experience everything is one of the hardest admissions we can make in the digital age.
A few years ago I was in a less-than-stellar place mentally, and saw a professional for help with working through the problems. In one discussion we arrived at an issue I was having with trying to fit too much into my routine. In the end, it spoke to this basic idea – I hated the idea that I would never be able to experience everything of value that I saw in the world.
“That’s… just… not possible” was the kind way I was reminded that information is close to infinite compared with our very finite lives.
I think this is quite different to FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out as a discussion feels very time sensitive. It’s about worrying that a thing is happening right now that I might wish I was taking part in. That itch to make sure a thing isn’t happening right now that I should be observing and participating in.
My fear feels more related to the fundamental question of mortality. There’s so many amazing stories to hear, articles to read, games to play, films to see, lessons to learn, and it’s a constant battle to prioritise which ones will be of most value over my lifespan.
But choose we must. And that’s part of why I am me and you are you. We all choose our path, not just through careers but through articles, films, games, and TV shows. And how we value our relationships.
So I’ve realised as part of my new decade resolutions that this question is very central. I’m loving ‘Not Scrolling’, and my mind seems to be finding more space to question if I’m giving attention to the right thing in any given moment. While also enjoying the moments when I stop actively giving my attention and start letting my attention turn inward more. Away from screens, away from text, away from letting tracts of external information lead my thinking.
It’s meant I have had interesting perspectives bubble to the surface that feel like they’re an Inner Me waking up. I’ve been enjoying my time just relaxing with the kids more. And I’ve felt far more intentional in the way I choose to relax, but also to focus more clinically during work time.
This is possibly the most high-level thought bubble newsletter column yet, but I do feel the new decade can be a wonderful line in the sand to really tear things down before building them up again. And I’ve found great value so far in the process of removing noise to find the valuable signals.
And next week Byteside podcasts will resume for 2020, so I’ll be back in the thick of the work – taking these refreshed perspectives with me. Including making sure there’s good reason for anyone to choose to pay me the privilege of giving their attention to my work.
Dodgy data dealings
Cracking stuff from Consumer Reports on how services many would assume are private are actually sharing info with data brokers for added revenue. Clarity of privacy information and highly informed consent must become standard.
All those GDPR pop-ups that tell us about cookies? The ones that seem really annoying and just seem to make us hit accept? They’re largely using dodgy design schemes that actually run against what the EU rules actually allow.
Social network apologises for allowing the use of discriminatory ad keywords it had meant to ban.
Good news everyone!
The search giant’s online ad business benefits from harvesting your personal data, but its browser team is pushing to make the web private by default.
Cool announcement from Microsoft. Some folks are (rightly) flagging their courting of fossil fuel industries to platform tools are problematic. We must hold every company to the highest standards, but in general this is a really positive announcement from such an industry leader.
I love Béhar’s work. I’m always fascinated by what he has to say about design and where things are going next. And he’s been designing Wi-Fi smart locks.
After years of ridicule, streamers who ‘just chat’ prove that there’s room for gabbing, not just gaming. I think it’s a great sign for the future of the platform.
Counterpoint to the above, in some ways, but all those exclusive deals with other platforms that saw top streamers exit Twitch? We often wondered if viewers would move too, whether other streamers would win new fans, or whether things might drop. Seems it has had some impact on overall Twitch numbers.
This tool has been around for a LONG time, and has felt a bit stagnant. Good to see Instagram realise it could be a powerful weapon in giving users the creative tools they need to have as much fun on Insta as they’re having on TikTok.
Taking fun seriously
The history of Warcraft from the very beginning. A thorough piece on the history of my favourite game series.
Nice piece touching on new research that shows we’re seeing more and more older gamers. This looks at some of the great reasons to encourage other older folks you might know to get into the hobby too!