Yes, I am a huge fan of Cal Newport …

I’m a big fan of Cal Newport and his emphasis on the importance of focus and changing habits that distract you from doing thoughtful and high-quality work.

He talks here about Ultra Processed Content. Processed foods are broken down into constituent components that can be fiddled with to create fatty, overly-sweet, empty calorie content crap food “food-like substances”. (Sounds yummy, don’t it?)

Then, he draws an analogy between crap food and crap online content. And, God knows, the internet is freaking lousy with that full of crap.

So here’s the quote I love:

A feedback loop soon develops in which the producers of this stock content (that is, those posting to social media) adapt to what seems to better please the platforms, simplifying and purifying their output to more efficiently feed the algorithms’ goal of hijacking the human desire mechanisms.

In this way, the users of social media platforms simulate something like the food scientist’s ability to break down corn and reconstitute it into a hyper-palatable edible food-like substances. What is a TikTok dance mash up if not a digital Dorito?

Yeah, a few too many of those and your brain might turn to mush there goes another few seconds of your precious life to watching someone’s idea of a fun time. And you’re not there. Sorry, you gotta set up your own TikTok account and dance like no one’s watching. Except they are, I guess, so fuck that.

And in other news from Cal …

“In other news…

Regardless of what Amazon’s editors have to say about the matter, I’m interested in reading that book!

And you can buy it from my online bookstore and support indie bookstores in the bargain!

PS: Meanwhile, it looks like yet another merger is coming down the pike. Can’t imagine why. :)


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