How to upgrade your mental software: become aware

Self-awareness can really go a long way. 

Recently, while I was having a relaxing massage, I was overcome with the need to check my phone. There I was, at a wellness spa away from the city, my eyes closed, smelling some kind of aromatherapy, and feeling the touch of a masseuse professional. And yet, instead of enjoying it, I wanted it to go faster so I can find out why my phone rang with notifications.

This, in spite of the fact that I was in the middle of a social media detox. (Although, of course, I cheated several times.)

I immediately realized how attached I have become to my smartphone, even without social media. So what I did was acknowledge this, and then tried my best to enjoy the rest of the massage. That really helped me.

As Madi reminded me, even if all you can do is notice the behavior, that in itself is progress.

The first step is to become self-aware. The rest, if you work on it, follows.


@crystalcamarao (with special thanks to Madi Thomas)


You Don’t Have to Unplug to Manage Digital Burnout

TL;DR: For those of us who work online, a digital detox may feel impossible. There are, however, ways to improve your relationship with tech without removing it from your life completely. Take breaks often, get the bulk of your socializing from irl exchanges rather than social media. Set notifications for things you really need to know about, and then put your phone on do not disturb during your off hours. When you’re not working, be totally present in the experience. 


Facebook is like sugar — too much is bad for you, says a top Facebook exec

TL;DR: Facebook exec Andrew Bosworth articulated his thoughts about recent FB criticisms on an internal network. The highlights:

  • Russian interference was a real thing, but was done mostly through organic posts rather than ads. 

  • Facebook lead to Trump’s election...because he had a fantastic digital campaign. 

  • The psychometric targeting Cambridge Analytica used was ‘pure snake oil’ and that they didn’t have as much pull on the election as the media claims.

  • Polarization is a much bigger problem than filter bubbles.

  • Facebook isn’t a truly addictive thing that degrades people's free will, it’s like sugar. Consume a moderate amount and you’ll be fine. (reality check: FB is designed to keep you on the site for as long as possible. Their metrics are based on co opting people’s attention. Facebook users are not addicted like a substance abuser, but they are still being manipulated to spend more time on the platform.)

‘Techlash’ Hits College Campuses

TL;DR: Google values its employee’s opinions and is a driving force for good. Well, that may have been true at one point, but the company’s ‘utopian’ days are behind it now. More and more, college students are becoming disillusioned from Google, Facebook and other large tech companies. “Now if a classmate tells me they’re joining Facebook, there’s an awkward gap where they feel like they have to justify themselves.” Some recruited students have turned down offers while offering criticism about the companies. Will this cause enough of a rift to make some kind of change?

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