Our digital diet is at an imbalance. We spend too much time consuming sugary tweets and toks and not enough time consuming healthy balanced digital meals. Moreover, everyone seems hell-bent on producing sugary tweets and toks over quality digital meals.
We've all read blog posts that have felt too long and repetitive. I've written many of these types of posts myself. Perhaps I'm even writing one right now.
This could have been a tweet, David!
Yes, it probably could have, but I lack enough time and clarity to compose something tweet-sized. I keep wanting to write something meaningful within the bounds of a character limit. When I can't muster up the words, I get frustrated and end up with drafts and drafts of cringy, shallow platitudes that will never see the light of day.
What I am starting to realize is that writing is helping me understand my thoughts beyond the character limit. Making an effort to write out a stream of consciousness, and shaping it into a coherent argument by way of editing, primarily benefits the writer.
A written piece should benefit the reader as well, but it must first satisfy the writer. If the work fails to captivate the writer, then it will undoubtedly fail to captivate the reader.
Have you ever had an idea in your head for days and have been unable to communicate the vision to a friend? That's not because you're a lousy communicator. It's not because you're inarticulate. It is because you haven't gone through the process of transforming the abstract into something coherent. First, for yourself, then for your audience. Writing is the purest form of thinking. Writing is the act of taking the abstract and bringing it into focus. Ideas worth sharing are rarely improvised. Concepts that take hold of the mind, and encourage you to think deeply about them, do so because they were thought out beyond the character limit of some website. Bringing clarity to the abstract is the true benefit of writing.
Of course, writing is not always necessary for ideas to surface. Plenty of good ideas surface spontaneously in conversation. However, the understanding of these ideas might be too shallow. Writing about them will deepen your appreciation for them and bring these ideas into focus. This way, you'll be capable of articulating an opinion rooted in understanding, not just instinct.
There is a time and place for sugary tweets and toks. Sometimes, we want to be entertained or read something that spikes our dopamine to feel good for a moment and move on. But my opinion is that our digital diet is oversaturated with sugary tweets and toks, weakening much of our attention span.
Sugary tweets and toks are programming us into ambivalence while turning us adverse to well-thought-out, long-form thinking. A well-balanced digital diet goes beyond character limits. A healthy digital diet is beyond bite-sized clichés. Our attention spans are dwindling, and with it, so too is the quality of our social discourse. Is it a coincidence? I don't think so. People are refusing to consider nuance in everyday life. People are rejecting the notion that there might be more to the story. People have become increasingly brittle because they've trained themselves to be blind to anything beyond the monotony of platitudes.
There's no better way to generate quality ideas than by consuming ideas that took someone a great deal of effort to produce.
Consumers and producers alike would benefit significantly from a well-balanced digital diet. A digital diet that includes a healthier proportion of ideas.
If you spend all day consuming sugary tweets and toks, it won't be long before you have a sugar crash. Do it enough days in a row, and you'll have serious health issues.
Spend more time writing about your abstract thoughts. Bring clarity to your abstract thinking. Doing so will enrich your conversations with others while increasing your confidence and social capital within your field and beyond.