Race to the Bottom
Anyone that posts any kind of digital content on the web already knows this. Post regularly! This comes by the simple fact that the algorithms that compose the page you are seeing now, privilege recent content.
Whilst this is relevant in some situations, like the weather report, or the news about the world, I want to defend the case here that this is not helping our society getting better.
The pressure to issue more frequently makes that the content looses in depth, quality and clarity
Probably you have noticed that over the last two decades influencers have moved from writing on the mainstream distribution, to writing to blogs and most recently to twitter. Similarly also our attention has been diverted to smaller chunks of information.
Imagine that J.R.R Tolkien was 45 years old today and trying to publish the story that fascinated millions of people. A story that took most of his life writing and perfecting. Had he published it today, he would have reached a far lesser audience than the one he had at the time. I mean, ask around your circle of friends and ask how many of them had read a book recently. I would also imagine that a perfectionist such as J.R.R. Tolkien would have had problems adjusting to the fast pace of today's demand.
The push for people to publish content frequently, makes it difficult to compose something complete with no loose ends and accurate. Not only the delays are short, the mere activity of publishing takes time and distracts the author. Marketing, mailing lists, sponsors and forums, all of that steals time and focus from the creation process.
This is not only applicable to written word. This is also valid to programmers, youtubers, musicians and other intellectual forms of creation.
Even though it is more challenging to make a careful work, there are still some master pieces that still come to life, and many other that already exist. However, finding them is increasingly difficult. Why? Here are a couple of reasons.
Did you already experienced the situation of wanting to find something you saw in the past and not being able to find it?
Thriving of Screamers
I believe humans must be hardwired to pay attention to people screaming. Think about it, it's used in infancy to get attention, historically, screaming is mostly associated with crisis situations that demand immediate attention. All of this makes that raising the voice to be heard is almost intuitive.
Interestingly, it seems that people sound more genuine when they scream. I don't know exactly the cause for it. Either because the speaker is better able to conceal his true objectives, or because it's easier to explain an incoherent speech, or because there is a natural empathy towards a person that screams...all or none of the above. Fact is that many public figures throughout history used this form of speech. On the assumption that if it is screamed, then it must be real and requires urgency. This recipe is quite effective and it moves crowds. President Trump seems to be an avid fan of this form of communication, going to the point of giving interviews with an helicopter running in the back.
The digital media has its forms of scream. Basically, the click-bait paragons, the indignation waves that spread throughout the social networks, unfounded accusations and crowd chants repeated over and over again (Ex: "Lock her up").
If you are still reading this, then consider your self above the average, but admittedly it is difficult to stay concentrated in while browsing the web. The list of solicitations in today's is immense.
I already withdrew myself from Facebook, over the years it became too noisy, and the information I was getting there was not worth the time I spent in it. I like the analogy made by David Sbarra in his post on Vox, comparing Facebook to being in a room filled with people begging for attention. Although, not knowing anyone that would put him/herself in this situation, it is actually quite difficult to resist the pull. I don't know about you, but, for me it was impossible to be "just a bit" in Facebook. The thing is designed to suck all the attention you have. As contention is much more difficult than abstention, it's better not to even open it.
So, after resisting several months to the automatic "We are missing you" mails, I discovered I can just kill it in the settings, and nowadays, I don't feel any kind of urge to go there again.
I was using before an Ad Blocker, and they were forbidden. Then I used a Stay Focused plugin that closed the "distractions" after a given time. Then, with time, I was able to simply ignore the noise and focus. The long term rewards of being able to make worthy work become stronger than the immediate reward that prompts us to scroll a few posts more. Being able to identify what is designed to pull our strings, really helps to do this.
For the fast pace that is reducing society's attention, it's not easy to stop a moving train with full throttle. Maybe changing algorithms would be a way to go, but those, are designed to maximize profit of the host, not to benefit a society. Turning back to a paid media? If you have any ideas regarding how to do this, please don't hesitate to put your idea in the comments.
Still we can find ourselves some pockets of air offline. And here is some hints that I hope help to make a better future for all:
Electron agitator and Software enthusiast