Bookmarked How to quit Facebook without quitting Facebook (Vox)

Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing makes the case for keeping your Facebook account, staying on Twitter, checking your email, but doing it all differently, and “not as asked.” (And not as self-help.)

Kaitlyn Tiffany interviews Jenny Odell about her book How to Do Nothing. Rather than leaving social media, Odell encourages us to be more aware. This is similar to what I was trying to capture in my post on being ‘informed’. Odell also discusses the idea of ‘social media’ as a public utility that does not depend upon cashing in on our attention. I just wonder if a state-based solution leads to what China has in place? Maybe the alternative is a decentralized solution? I am not sure.


For my purposes, the attention economy is as simple as the buying and selling of attention. There’s the micro, literal version of that, which is “engagement,” a measure of how much time someone spends in an app and how much they engage with it. But I think a broader definition of the attention economy is kind of like — as I personally experience it — I exist in space with a heightened anxiety and sensitivity all the time, even when I’m not literally engaging with any of these apps. And that then contributes to the way I am using them and how often I’m using them.

Do anything that can help you stand outside of yourself. And see what you’re doing. I feel like that’s common knowledge in therapy and a lot of addiction therapy, right? Seeing what you’re doing is the first step. It’s this process that detaches you a little bit. It’s from that perspective that you’re able to remember what is actually important to you. Or realize that you don’t know what’s important to you, which is an important thing to know about, if that’s true. But otherwise, you’re stuck in this tiny loop, and getting out of it, even if it’s really brief, that’s still way better than nothing, I think. Realizing that life goes on, away from this stuff.