Against the digital detox

Matthew J. X. Malady gave up his mobile phone, social media, etc. for three days. His experience doesn’t fit the typical detox trope, one which states that giving up our devices “frees” us and allows us to reconnect and see the world in new ways. It’s a trope I’ve been sympathetic towards in the past.

Mr. Malady’s main takeaway: Going without made him less curious. Writing for the New Yorker:

During the world’s longest weekend, it became clear to me that, when I’m using my phone or surfing the Internet, I am almost always learning something. I’m using Google to find out what types of plastic bottles are the worst for human health, or determining the home town of a certain actor, or looking up some N.B.A. player’s college stats. I’m trying to find out how many people work at Tesla, or getting the address for that brunch place, or checking out how in the world Sacramento came to be the capital of California.

Don’t post this on Medium.

Dave Winer:

If Medium were more humble, or if they had competition, I would relax about it. But I remember how much RSS suffered for being dominated by Google. And Google was a huge company and could have afforded to run Google Reader forever at a loss. Medium is a startup, a well-funded one for sure, but they could easily pivot and leave all the stories poorly served, or not served at all. I’m sure their user license doesn’t require them to store your writing perpetually, or even until next week.

I wrote something similar last year.