No more spending an hour a day “owning the Progs” with retweets

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Neovictorian has spent the last month practicing Cal Newport‘s Digital Minimalism, and I can see why he’s feeling better and getting more done:

  1. Off Twitter until April 1. During the break evaluate how to use Twitter as a tool for making life better; maybe only tweet about books, and/or only original tweets, and a definite time limit (no more spending an hour a day “owning the Progs” with retweets).
  2. Not even looking at the phone until after 8:00 am, and then only to check personal email.
  3. No bullet chess on the internet (an activity that often burned intervals of 15 or 20 minutes playing several games and left me with an increased heart rate and mild adrenal fatigue).
  4. No Drudge Report except between 1200 and 1300 hours, and then only one pass through to check on the developments of the day, and after that let those troubles lie until tomorrow. I realized I don’t really need to know about the latest tweet from Trump or “AOC” or the latest blabber from Adam “Bugeye” Schiff (D-Cloud Cuckoo Land).
  5. No radio when driving (this is more of a concentration exercise based on that grand old book The Power of Concentration but it fits into the program).
  6. Substitutes for the time previously spent looking at the phone: playing music, walking, working out, conversation with family.
  7. No Twitter, news or other distracting websites during work hours. The temptation to take a “break” and visit various “interesting” things was definitely affecting productivity. I’ve cleared a lot of minor, backlog projects that were hanging around and feel better about work, lighter.

I haven’t followed Neovictorian’s list, but I have spent more time on my Kindle and less on my phone.


  1. Dave NYC says:

    Good start, but the list above does not qualify as minimalism. Try never going on social media again… ever. I was on Faceborg for 6 months back in 2008, and dumped it then and never looked back. Never been on Twitter or any of the others and never will. I didn’t own a cell phone until 2013, when I finally caved and bought a 23 dollar pre pay flip phone. Still own it today. Never had an iPhone and never will. Only go on the Internet at lunch break or after my kids are asleep. I frequently leave my flip phone at home when I go out. When I leave town on vacations the phone stays behind and so does the computer. Not looking at a computer for 2 or 3 weeks at a time is liberating. I actually feel pathetic when I turn it back on after a vacation. Those of us over 40 lived most of our lives without the digital tit, and we functioned just fine without it.

    I don’t mention these things to toot my own horn, but to provide an example of someone who is largely unattached to the madness of the digital hell that has swallowed this society whole and is pushing everyone involved in it towards a kind of dystopian infantilism.

    Leave it all behind, or at least most of it. You really don’t need it. You will be much happier and healthier.

  2. T. Greer says:

    My life quality has improved remarkably since I quite twitter last month and visit Fbook only every other day. Happier, more productive, all of it.

    I still feel like I am missing out on news stories and new scientific studies though, and haven’t quite found a way around that yet. On the other hand, I have had the time to study two languages, lose 6 kilograms, and read 1/3rd of Shakespeare’s plays, so there is that.

  3. Never been on Twitter. Use FB only to post. Use Messenger to stay in touch with a relatively small number of people. There is too much substantive things to read to waste time like that.

    Why can Twitter mobs have such power? Something I discuss here

  4. Jacob G. says:

    My limits to social media:
    Facebook: I use this only to keep up with people I’m no longer in contact with, i.e. replace high school reunion. So: any friends that spam anything that isn’t updates on their life is blocked from the newsfeed. I can still look up their profiles whenever I think of them.
    Twitter: I use it with filter:follows -filter:replies search which makes it chronological and also doesn’t show retweets. I only follow people who have a fairly narrow topic they stick too. Those who ‘bless’ the world with their opinion on every wiggle of the news cycles are unfollowed. Those who pile on the controversial nothingburgers are unfollowed. I dropped three after the covingtong brouhaha. I don’t need to be rabble roused. I follow people for these topics: nuclear power, anti-trust, voice of reason politics, demographics, marriage studies/pro family natalists, urbanists, strategy, religion, and some misc accounts I find interesting.

    I have an RSS feed with the some curating principles. Occasionally I will prune if I’m spending too much time. If I have time to kill I will go see what people I follow follow and occasionally add something if it seems really good. Or look up a topic I’ve got nothing on.

    tl;dr: chronological ordering gives you a natural time limit, if you don’t follow too much. Don’t follow people who spam or who try to get you whipped up about stuff.

  5. Jacob G. says:

    I’d also add conventional news sources: cable, newspapers, are pretty bad. News websites are only a little better. A well curated twitter is much better to be made aware of breaking news, without thinking you know what really happened.

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