Pros of the Internet
- Information research
- The Internet makes possible looking up information – any information – in a matter of seconds, without being limited by time & physical constraints (of being dependent on a local library, for instance).
- Global niche communities
- People of shared interest can band together without the geographical restrictions of physical groups.
Cons of the Internet
- Association with the out-of-niche
- Before the Internet became widely popular, adults 1 generally banded together based on shared interests. While the Internet was already in use but yet to become widely popular, niche communities (Linux User Groups for instance) were more common than others.
- After the wide popularity of the Internet, it is not difficult to get in contact with people outside of one's niche. Thus one can unwittingly get involved with what one may consider as ‘the worst’ of the human condition more easily than before. In the physical environment, if someone for example doesn’t like a particular neighbourhood or city, they can simply move to another geographical area 2 ; this is not strictly possible when publicly using a popular social media platform.
- Outrage Market
To keep the internet free — while becoming richer, faster, than anyone in history — the technological elite needed something to attract billions of users to the ads they were selling. And that something, it turns out, was outrage. As Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality, points out, anger is the emotion most effective at driving “engagement” — which also makes it, in a market for attention, the most profitable one. By creating a self-perpetuating loop of shock and recrimination, social media further polarized what had already seemed, during the Obama years, an impossibly and irredeemably polarized country. — Noah Kulwin
Pros of Digital Minimalism
- Heterodox engagement
- Out of box thinking, in other words. Thinking and reflecting on areas that none of the Internet communities partake on, yet. Doing pioneering work.
- For eg., even r/TheMotte (a rationality community) remains firmly orthodox in the topic of human consciousness.
- See also: Deep Work
- Value prioritization
- At the surface, a shiny new social media tech may appear “worthy” of attention. But most social media activities are not necessarily in alignment with one’s core values. 3 Digital Minimalists consciously pick those that demonstrably provide value in our lives.
bgentry: I moved to Austin [Texas] in November after 10 years in the Bay Area and a lifetime in different parts of California. Not a chance we will move back, certainly not for decades. The most refreshing part of the change is that people are genuinely nicer and more friendly around here than anywhere I lived in California (OC, SD, SF, Berkeley, Stockton for college)