Tantek Çelik reflects on a post by Ben Werdmuller, who wrote a script to be able to quickly follow the blogs of people he follows on Mastodon. As Ben notes in his post, there’s a lot more nuance and depth to be had in reading people’s longer-form thoughts.
One of the reasons that I write here about other people’s work on a daily basis is that it forces me to read and engage with what other people think and believe. That’s helpful in getting me out of my own head, and (probably) makes me less argumentative.
The combination of taking more time (as longer form writing encourages) and publishing on a domain associated with your name, your identity, enables & incentivizes more thoughtful writing. More thoughtful writing elevates the reader to a more thoughtful state of mind.
There is also a self-care aspect to this kind of deliberate shift. Ben wrote that he found himself “craving more nuance and depth” among “quick, in-the-now status updates”. I believe this points to a scarcity of thoughtfulness in such short form writings. Spending more time reading thoughtful posts not only alleviates such scarcity, it can also displace the artificial sense of urgency to respond when scrolling through soundbyte status updates.
There’s a larger connection here between thoughtful reading, and finding, restoring, and rebuilding the ability to focus, a key to thoughtful writing. It requires not only reducing time spent on short form reading (and writing), but also reducing notifications, especially push notifications. That insight led me to wade into and garden the respective IndieWeb wiki pages for notifications, push notifications, and document a new page for notification fatigue. That broader topic of what do to about notifications is worth its own blog post (or a few), and a good place to end this post.