Trim the attention sails

In America, the 2024 election cycle is unlikely to amuse anyone. Maybe this is a rallying point for “unifying” the country: a near-universal loathing of our politicians, how they get themselves elected, and the outcomes they deliver to us. Let alone the new media that reports on them.

Ahead of the inevitable hell-cycle, I’ve trimmed my attention sails a bit. The general idea is to remove feeds and notifications from my daily routine which are monetized primarily by writing doom-y, grab-y headlines. I’m looking at you in particular, New York Times. But it applies to just about everything with headlines. I’ve disabled all notifications from The Economist and Apple News. I read them once a week. That’s plenty.

Unrelated to the election, I deleted the Twitter and Instagram apps. The web app is mostly equivalent in Twitter’s case, no loss there. Instagram’s mobile web app is surprisingly mediocre. The point, in both cases, is to put a few more steps, a bit more friction, between me and randomly scrolling an algorithmic, attention-hungry feed. I’ve since found that the friction of loading these two as web apps is great. I do indeed look at them far, far less. On the other hand, their web apps are intentionally just-okay. It seems to me that any organization that can put together an excellent iOS app should be able to do the same on mobile web. Reader, let me tell you, they don’t.

I found the settings in Lyft and DoorDash that prevent them from sending advertisements-as-push-notifications. They do exist! Highly recommended.

Mute lists, they’re also fantastic. All the names and teams and keywords that tend to mean “here’s a post about the political horse-race” are scrubbed from my timeline. Even better, I can see when they’re scrubbed and dip in to see if things are as unproductive as I remember. (Thanks for that little detail, Ivory.)

Previously: Think Your Thoughts.

Adam Keys @therealadam