Digitally downsizing


I haven’t done this in a while, so bear with me as I try and remember how this ‘writing for edutainment’ thing works. I, as I am sure most of you are, am still in some variant of a lock-down. You won’t find me complaining about it as it has a net benefit to me, I get to sit at home and focus on learning, and it is difficult to get me to attend virtual meetings/conferences as the social pressure is non-existent. Bliss.

Of course, it goes without saying that my social skills are regressing, but they are degrading in line with society, so I am still ‘relatively’ normal. The only thing that my life is missing is the occasional trips away with family and friends. I hope you all are holding up well.

For my work, I am at the point where I do not need to be in the lab, although it would improve my results anything I do in the lab now would be the icing on the cake. I am currently writing up results and running an online survey. The online survey will form part of my thesis in combination with some of the practical work I did in 2019. I expect the survey to conclude in a week or so, and then it is just pure writing until the end of my studies, which is just under a year from now. So naturally, my tendencies will ensure that I do not get it finished right until the deadline and chip away at it slowly rather than work hard and get it done with plenty of time to spare.

I am lucky that I decided to invest in a high-quality chair as for the foreseeable future, I will be spending most of my working day in it, with the occasional break for food and exercise.

Warning: completely off-topic rant incoming. 

As I have been spending more time online, I have noticed something that I previously had not. What I have noticed is that because of the fact that people understand there is an algorithm at play deciding what content you should see. People have taken to producing content that serves the algorithm and not you.

For example, do a search for any given topic. If you exclude Wikipedia, you’re likely to find a page full of listicles and other such sites that offer ‘hacks, tricks and tips’. I don’t want to see your SEO optimised garbage; I want an essay by someone who is informed on the subject I am searching for. 

Is Google the search engine we deserve? Do we only have limited attention that only allows us to learn things in 5, or preferably 3, simple steps?

As is stated in Goodheart’s LawWhen a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Because people adjust their behaviour towards the target, and it stops being useful. This happens with everything: GDP, exams, search engines, reviews etc.

Maybe the un-optimised internet was better? 

I have also noticed that the layout and styling of a website are highly correlated with the quality of content within. The more effort that has gone into making the website look nice; the less effort has gone into the content. It goes without saying that there are exceptions. 

Admittedly, I fell into this trap to when I first started this blog. Now I have become much more minimalist with my approach. Whenever I look at other peoples personal sites, of those people whom I respect, almost always they have the most simple sites imaginable. 

This type of approach is very much in line with something I have been implementing over lock-down. I have been changing all the software I use to programs that follow the philosophy of doing one thing well, rather than many things averagely. It also gives me an excuse to learn new software which is obviously a bonus. Strangely the music I listen to has become much more minimalist also; fewer complex melodies and lyrics and more repetitive electronic beats, I find it has improved my concentration slightly.

Anyway, it is time to get back to work. I hope all is well in your part of the world!

Currently reading: Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

19 thoughts on “Digitally downsizing

  1. Interesting, particularly the general inverse relationship between presentation & content. I find that encourages me somewhat. (Not saying a lot, I know, but as an inveterate opponent of “like” culture, at least with regards to blogging, it shows someone is reading your stuff, no matter how irregularly!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is precisely what I don’t want my blog to turn into. I’ve been trying to search for blogs to follow that have a personal feel and it is seriously difficult to find. I’ve had to sift through so much sterile content. I’m trying to find bloggers that write with authenticity.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. LOUIS! I have just been talking about exactly what you posted about all this month. The more I have been at home the more time I’ve had to look things up and read and yadda yadda and it’s become so apparent that things like Google have become so ubiquitous and easy to manipulate that it’s once again becoming extremely difficult to find what you’re actually looking for online. While researching topics for a class project I had to go 4 pages through the search results just to find a page that wasn’t clearly an advertisement. And unfortunately the further you go into the pages the less relevant your search results get. You can’t win.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have a mixed opinion on SEO. When I was a junior in high school, I learned MLA. In college I had to use APA. To me SEO is just another format of writing.

    So I don’t mind SEO if it fits within what someone is writing about anyway. For instance links. I tend to write about something I feel needs more explanation, so I put in a link rather than get side tracked. Or I will sometimes link to other posts of mine if I’m touching on a subject I have talked about before.

    What I don’t like is SEO for the sake of SEO. I don’t like someone making something they could say 1600 words when they could have in 500. I don’t like pictures or gifs that have nothing to do with the actual post.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’ve always posted more for my content personally. I’m not looking for sales or anything with the topic that I write about. Christians or people that are interested in what I write about generally aren’t there to be exactly entertained or buy something, but rather to quench their thirst for answers. At least that’s my opinion on writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Catching up, briefly, after days of other people’s lives. ( they need a break, we have space, scenery, no signal, rubbish wi fi)

    Digital downsizing – The most thoughtful piece I’ve read this morning…
    Still haven’t structured a website, so much to learn Minimalist sounds right for me.


    Liked by 3 people

  7. I see you are posting less. I hope that translates into progress in your degree. It sounds like it does. I am also posting a lot less. I find I am spending more time deleting spam than responding to meaningful comments. I am thinking of ending my blog, or at least downsizing it. Other activities seem to have a lot more value these days. I do hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 2 people

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