My case for friction in writing (particularly writing on the Internet) echoes and amplifies Kosslyn’s concern that frictionless design is partly to blame for the rapid spread of misinformation. When writing meets no impediments, we can easily become links in a chain through which misinformation spreads. Yet my appeal for friction writing goes to something even more basic: When you encounter (and pay heed to) resistance in your writing, you have the chance to change not only your words but also your mind—and even to consider whether you need to be writing something at all, or at least at this moment.
Borrowing from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg he talks about the power and potential of the waste book. This allows us to write more and share better.
This touches on Ian O’Byrne’s discussion of thinking twice before sharing that hot take:
I’d urge you to focus on first doing the work yourself before you move to the local context. Read up. Problematize your perspectives. Question your assumptions and biases. Listen to others.
Personally, I find sharing first in my own space before sharing elsewhere builds in a healthy level of friction. This also reminds me of Clay Shirky’s discussion of junking perfectly good workflows to maintain attention.
At the end of every year, I junk a lot of perfectly good habits in favor of awkward new ones.
Some of those changes stick, most don’t, but since every tool switch involves a period of disorientation and sub-optimal use, I have to make myself be willing to bang around with things I don’t understand until I do understand them. This is the opposite of a dream setup; the thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.