Signals and Noise

The sheer amount of publications, information sources, and people that I follow has become too much to read, and too much to mean anything. Continual anxiety means I’m struggling to focus on anything useful, like uni work or project planning. But trying to escape or get ideas by reading non-uni media isn’t helping at all.

Between my Twitter feed, Medium recommendations and Pocket list, there’s almost 1000 items of “do this to be happy”, “do this to be better”,”here’s how everyone else is succeeding”, and “you need to care about this”.

It’s my own fault. I’d queued up a never-ending supply of articles promising to give me answers, change my life, and make me care. A continual stream of second-hand inspiration and vicarious growth.

But now all the articles and people and voices have blurred into a meaningless mess. I get stuck feeling guilty for not being someone who can do what they’re writing about. The words become static jumping on the page, and I have to stop reading, or just interacting with anything, because nothing is sinking in and nothing makes sense.

Distracting myself with social media in that way isn’t helping- it’s just giving me a new way to feel worse. So, as I haven’t been able to get much productive work done this week, I’ve spent the evenings cutting out some of that noise.

Unsubscribe. Unfollow. Cancel. Repeat.

I’m not going to get rid of everything, or completely stop using social media.

However, so far I’ve dramatically reduced how much  I follow across the media I use- probably by more than half. A  lot  was just noise, not signal- I haven’t really noticed any difference, or anything being obviously  missing.

I’ve also cleared out years worth of emails and deleted all my unused accounts/ mailing lists/ subscriptions. That was the easy one, as it’s a visible change so it feels like something tangibly improved.

This could be completely pointless procrastination, I guess. But right now it feels helpful, so why not?

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