Hello, my name is Ren Provey.
I am a full stack web software developer with a deep interest
in iOS, user experience and
analytics.

Signal Consumption

Three weeks ago I deleted my Facebook account. The decision was a well thought out whim. Facebook was a great way to quickly share photos of Eli with friends and family all over the globe, but it just began sucking my time other ways.

Around the same time I read a great article by Rands, in which he talks about two things that resonated strongly:

  • The Builder's High, and
  • Other people's moments

Particularly one section:

The fact that the frequency of these interesting moments appears to be ever-growing and increasingly easy to find does not change the fact that your attention is finite. Each one you experience, each one you consume, is a moment of your life that you’ve spent forever.

These are other people’s moments.

These moments can be important. They can connect us to others; they briefly inform us as to the state of the world; they often hint at an important idea without actually explaining it by teasing us with the impression of knowledge. But they are often interesting, empty intellectual calories. They are sweet, addictive, and easy to find in our exploding digital world, and their omnipresence in my life and the lives of those around me has me starting this year asking, "Why am I spending so much time consuming other people’s moments?"

For me, the answer to that final question is simple, I love and care about all these people. There is a whole rabbit hole to dive down here, but in short I asked myself, what is the best way to show that care? My answer to that didn't include dutifully following a Twitter stream.

Me, personally, I decided to trade the instant gratification of seeing other people's moments, for hearing about those moments in person. Even if that means it is only for an hour once a year. That is a personal preference, not an argument for how it should be for everyone.

The past few weeks, I'd forgotten I was no longer a user of Facebook, and armed with that knowledge, I've kicked off a massive stripping out of noise in my life. RSS, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, stacks of books to read, whatever. For every five whatevers-it-was, I now have one or none. Sure I am losing some signal, but when did it become important that we not miss a single signal?

In no way am I promising nirvana, but it is pretty awesome to pull out your iPad for the second time in an afternoon and realize that you have no feeds to read, no clashing clan to maintain, no tweets to ingest, in short "no catching up on X" consumption to be done. My internet firehose is more of a peaceful brook and my life has been gifted with a free 20 minutes.

For me, in the past 3 weeks I've run an extra 15 miles and I've startled more than one far flung geographically, but close to the heart friend who hasn't heard from me.

It's pretty great, I hope your 2014 finds you more free time and blank slates.

PS. I probably stopped following you on Twitter, you might do the same, I've realized I am not that interesting there.

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