As a teacher and writer, I’m constantly thinking about the trap of social media, how much time it takes, the emotional trade off, and how little I learn, all of this balanced by the relationships I make online (which I do value). So is it worth it?
I also think a lot about how much we consume in our culture – entertainment-wise – rather than create, the scales not being balanced in the least. I worry about each time I zone out watching a screen for more than a few minutes. If I want to create, and to create quality work, I have to consume less and create more. And when I do consume, it has to be high-quality art (great books, poetry, lyrical rappers, paintings, sculpture, essays, etc.).
But that’s me – how I would say it. Here’s someone else’s voice…
Quoting Benjamin P. Hardy (from Medium):
“Invest At Least 80% Of Your “Off” Time Into Learning
Most people are consumers rather than creators.
They are at work to get their paycheck, not to make a difference.
When left to their own devices, most people consume their time as well. It is only by investing your time that you get a return on that time.
Nearly every second spent on social media is consumed time. You can’t have that time back. Rather than making your future better, it actually made your future worse. Just like eating bad food, every consumed moment leaves you worse off. Every invested moment leaves you better off.
Entertainment is all well and good. But only when that entertainment is an investment in your relationships or yourself. You’ll know if it was an investment if that entertainment continues to yield returns over and over in your future. That may include positive memories, transformational learning, or deepened relationships.
Even still, life isn’t purely about being entertained. Education and learning is also key. And although both are essential, education will provide far greater returns in your future.
The world’s most successful people are intense learners. They are hard readers. They know that what they know determines how well they see the world. They know that what they know determines the quality of relationships they can have and the quality of work they can do.
If you are constantly consuming junk media, how can you possibly expect to create high value work? Your input directly translates to your output. Garbage in, garbage out.”
Pretty good, right? Blunt and to the point, but accurate.
On the topic of high-quality art, here are three novels I’ve read this year that were incredible:
1. Zadie Smith’s NW (Note: the structure of this book is so mind-blowing, it could never be made into a movie.)
2. James Welch’s Fools Crow (US and native history collide with fiction – I’ve thought about the perspective in this book every day for two months, since I finished it).
3. Kent Haruf’s Our Souls At Night (I don’t know if I’ve ever read protagonists as real as the ones in this book).