The Endless Fight Against the Infinite Scroll

I first wrote about how to com­bat the infi­nite scroll — since dubbed doom­scrolling — back in 2018, bor­row­ing from the updates Jason Kot­tke makes about his media diet. It’s still all about inten­tion­al­i­ty, right? It still is and I try not to stare at the screen in search of some­thing that nev­er mate­ri­al­izes, but phones just demand our atten­tion, don’t they?

Great exam­ple from Char­lie Warzel why it’s impor­tant we put bound­aries around this behav­ior. Can I just say I hate learn­ing over and over that Neil Post­man was more right than I could’ve imag­ined him being when I first read him as a col­lege freshman?

So here’s how I’ve been keep­ing myself busy when I’m not watch­ing Twit­ter unspool.

  • Read­ing
    • Sing Back­wards and Weep. Mark Lane­gan takes you on an odyssey through his career at the mar­gins of the Seat­tle music scene and soci­ety itself. As some­one who real­ly became a music obses­sive as grunge broke, it was a heart­break­ing work. Lane­gan tells a sur­vivor’s tale that gives an over­due human and humane per­spec­tive on the lives and deaths of his close friends Kurt Cobain and Layne Sta­ley. It’s a grip­ping, brac­ing read.
    • Newslet­ters. I need to declare newslet­ter bank­rupt­cy but just can’t. Your newslet­ter is great and I get why peo­ple are turn­ing to email to stop fight­ing algo­rithms, but I’m open to strate­gies for bet­ter email man­age­ment so they’re not just com­plete­ly buried.
      • But as Bri­an Mor­ris­sey writes in the Reboot­ing, email is hard­er than we’re ready to admit. I’ve spent the bet­ter part of the week on a new desk­top (!) PC (!!) just to make my per­son­al email more man­age­able and found that newslet­ter are fre­quent­ly buried in the fun­ni­est places because of how AI sorts your inbox.
  • Watch­ing
    • Ted Las­so. The first sea­son hit me — and every­one else — like a ton of bricks at the out­set of the pan­dem­ic. It just hit the right notes for the moment. Sea­son two? It has­n’t charmed me in quite the same way, and it seems like pub­lic opin­ion has turned sour.
    • Garth Marenghi’s Dark­place. I was first intro­duced to this in grad school or there­abouts by Todd L. Burns. It’s on Ama­zon Prime and if you’re a Matt Berry fan, it’s won­der­ful to look back at this moment in his career.
    • Rick and Morty. I’m not caught up. Appar­ent­ly the sea­son redeems itself, but it’s been try­ing my patience.
    • The Phillies. I’m reluc­tant to admit that this deeply flawed team has won me back with a streak that put them in first place in August. I’m ready to have my heart bro­ken again.
  • Lis­ten­ing
    • Pod­casts
      • Chin Music — Get­ting Kevin Gold­stein back is a gift that just keeps on giving.
    • Mix­cloud — seri­ous­ly this is the future of radio and I hope they can stay indie forever.
    • Albums — too many to list. I’ll share my favorites now that we’ve got just 4 months to go (!) in 2021.
  • Doing
    • Lit­tle League base­ball. Char­lie’s team fin­ished fourth in New Jer­sey. He made a tal­ent­ed team in his only sea­son in the league. If you’ve spent any time around youth sports, you might know how dif­fi­cult this can be. It was a tri­umphant con­clu­sion to an impres­sive Lit­tle League career. He’s excit­ed to start trav­el ball again this fall, along­side hockey.
    • Run­ning. I hired a coach last sum­mer to try to train for a 100K race. It was going great, right up until the time of the move, when I was strick­en by a relent­less case of plan­tar fasci­itis. I’m near­ly com­plete­ly recov­ered but have no races on the sched­ule. I’m back to run­ning about an hour a day at a good pace, but the dif­fer­ence this time is that I’m focused on being lighter. I’m down about twen­ty pounds since the end of June and am look­ing to lose about twen­ty or so more. My hope is that being lighter will trans­late to few­er repet­i­tive stress injuries.
    • Tech upgrades. New phones! We’re all on iPhone 12 now. I’m typ­ing on a Win­dows desk­top PC and it is hilar­i­ous­ly won­der­ful to have an all-in-one in our lives again. I may even write more, but don’t want to com­mit just yet.

Keep choos­ing things that take you offline when you can and remind your­self that infor­ma­tion isn’t the same as action.

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