Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 17: Online time is inversely proportional to offline purpose

*You’ll notice the word, “Links,” has been removed from the title. Sunday posts are turning into an area of reflection. There will still be links, but the meat will be journaling, specifically for your pleasure.*

60 hours and 33 minutes online this week. I spent 17 hours, 32 minutes on Microsoft Word and Blogger. 13 hours and 29 minutes reading poker books. 12 hours and 18 minutes wasting time -- the top 4 sites Quora (1), Facebook (2), New York Times (3), and WSJ (4). Spent 4 hours reading on the Kindle. 3 hours and 48 minutes on email.

After 16 weeks plotting internet time, I’ve come to a simple-but-stunning conclusion: the best strategy to reduce time staring-at-a-computer is to have a more interesting, more irreplaceable offline life. That’s what made New York work; that’s what made Yale work. In Manila, without a strong community or a significant sense of purpose, I’m resorting to the Internet as a placeholder.

Online time is inversely proportional to the robustness of offline life. For it, being online only fills an offline void. Developing stronger willpower is no panacea: it doesn’t address the root problem. The 12 hours I’m wasting every week – if I was fervent about something (like poker!), it'd be transferred over.

The Internet is still irreplaceable, of course. The first five minutes every day have unbelievably high marginal utility – who tagged this picture?; Ryan Howard did what in the 9th inning?; OMG look at this email – but after the initial social discovery, the payoff drops dramatically.
Alright. Here are my links this week.

I’ve read every article on Jobs. I don’t believe in pithy statements – like his Stanford Commencement speech – having tangible real-world effect on individual lives (maybe more a diluted good feeling), but hey, he was better than Tom Hanks. The Atlantic talks about why him being bad was actually good; TechCrunch on how he could say no; a NYT exclusive focuses on how he managed his limited time left on Earth. Let’s go back a step: the NYT actually has two great recap posts on his life and legacy, one on the front page and one on Pogue’s blog, when he argues another Jobs will never exist. Quora on Steve Jobs’ most profound quotation; TechCrunch on staying hungry.

In other news, Cupertino, the town where I’ve never even read about a violent crime, had a 3-man-dead, 13-men-wounded killing spree on the day Jobs died. The perp’s been caught, no worries, but also shot to death, so we’ll never know his motivations. One of my friends from back home posted on Facebook – “adsfas” – which, as devilishly inconsiderate as it sounds, might be right. Though I wouldn’t brag about it.

I have an internal conflict with the internet. On one hand, it’s sucking out my soul. On the other side, it’s filled with hilarious people, like Danny Chun, a writer for the Simpsons and the Office. His tweets are spot on. Plus, if you’re still in high school, 15-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson’s new website, Rookie, designed for self-conscious, slightly embittered high schoolers, is pop rocks. The middle skool piece about relationships touches a nerve, and girl hate, according to my sources, is alive and kicking, even (especially?) at Yale. And all these popular internet memes! I could be spending 250 hours a week online! 

My favorite profile in a long time is a behind the scenes look at Taylor Swift. You need a New Yorker password for access, but I really, really want you to read it. So email me and I’ll forward my account information. And read her blog/journal. The stadiums she performs at – incredible.

The rest of the reading, ordered from best-written to worst-written. (1) The Yale Daily News, Marina K. (she’s going to be a famous writer someday, mark my words) writes about the lackluster reasons to enter finance and consulting. I’m an artichoke, too. (2) Did you know that the most active group in online dating are…people over 55 years old?!@! (3) Everything that Governor Christie says is pabulum. (4) The question Ivy-League types might be perfectly comfortable asking ourselves: are we super-people, or just faking it? (5) What’s behind the little spot drawings in the New Yorker? (6) A Billy Beane interview on the state of the Oakland A’s. Love it. (7) Programmers complaining how hard their jobs are. (8) Could you survive on $1000 a month? (9): My new favorite YouTube Asian-American artist is Jason Chen. “How To Love” cover? Soulful.

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