How to fight digital distractions, cut back on social media, and get the most from technology in 2023

Is technology a force for good?

As much as people are excited about new trends like Web3 and the metaverse, the rise of artificial intelligence is also leading to more sophisticated ransomware attacks and cyber scams. One solution is to focus on the facts beyond the hype, as Carson McCullers alludes to in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (also available on Audible):

The only solution is for people to know. Once they know the truth they can be oppressed no longer. Once just half of them know the whole fight is won.

If you need more guidance, here are some of my favourite Seth Godin quotes from his 2022 blog posts, together with a recommended title from Blinkist.

Our evolved preference for familiarity often backfires. There are many signals that give us useful information about whether a situation is productive or safe. But pre-existing social networks might not be the best one. ~ Fear of strangers 

Learn more: The Internet Is Not What You Thought It Is

A flow state is priceless. It happens when we lose ourselves in the work, simply connecting with the task, without commentary or doubt. When we’re in flow, time slows down, satisfaction rises and we feel fully engaged. ~ Flow (and progress)  

Learn more: Living in Flow 

Technology is not neutral. It can’t be, because by definition, advances in tech create change, and change always creates positives and negatives. ~ Progress 

Learn more: Understanding Artificial Intelligence

The ringer on a phone was designed to establish urgency. And social media has optimized for that itch as well. But it’s not up to them. ~ Coming soon  

Learn more: The Distracted Mind

Falsehoods, spin and legends can be tweaked and tested and changed to exactly match the dreams and desires of the people they’re aimed at. This is why manipulative stories are so much stickier than what really happened. ~ Reality isn’t optimized 

Learn more: Pegasus

By all means, ask a second doctor before you get surgery. But in just about every public setting, the comments aren’t going to be particularly helpful. ~ A second opinion 

Learn more: Scattered Minds

Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit. ~ Yelling “fire” 

Learn more: The Alignment Problem

More information is only useful if it helps you make a decision. ~ Data, information and decisions  

Learn more: Got Your Attention?

Catastrophization ends up distracting us from the long-term systemic work we signed up to do. It’s a signal that we care about what’s happening right now, but it also keeps us from focusing on what’s going to happen soon. ~ Catastrophization  

Learn more: Stolen Focus 

Mass culture gets us more mass culture. It’s not the only choice. ~ Everyone else is  

Learn more: Undistracted

Just because they’re easy to measure doesn’t mean they matter. ~ False metrics appearing real 

Learn more: Essentially Less

Cultural change always happens relatively slowly. Person by person, conversation by conversation. Expectations are established, roles are defined, systems are built. ~ How change happens  

Learn more: Fierce Conversations

The hierarchies of status drive decisions far more than we realize. We often architect the systems that create our culture without paying attention to why. ~ What are things like around here? 

Learn more: Collective Illusions

Media and those in search of our money or attention bring the far nearby, amplify the reality of threats and emphasize sunk costs in pushing us to stay stuck. We need to get much better at investing in the future, and being distracted by loud, sudden noises isn’t helpful. ~ The proximity hack 

Learn more: The Power of Unwavering Focus

You can be a successful professional without spending time on social media. ~ Habits are not needs 

Learn more: Attention Span

Technology begins by making old work easier, but then it requires that new work be better. ~ Attention, trust and GPT3  

Learn more: Impromptu

Data is everywhere around us, and most of it is simply noise. ~ Insightful data is called information  

Learn more: Irresistible

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