A 2019 manifesto: analog over digital

I’ve been thinking about Cal Newport’s post called Join Analog Social Media all day, especially as we get to the end of another year:

The dynamic at play here is that digital activities that are mildly positive in isolation, combine to crowd out other real world activities that are potentially much more satisfying. This is what allows you to love Twitter in the moment when you discover a hilarious tweet, but at the end of the day fear that the app is degrading your soul.

Understanding this dynamic is critical because it tells you that you cannot improve your life by focusing exclusively on digital tools. Triaging your apps, or cutting back phone time, will not by itself make you happier. You must also aggressively fill in the space this pruning creates with the type of massively satisfying, real world activities that these tools have been increasingly pushing out of your life.

Simply cutting back on social media time is only going to leave a weird emptiness behind if we don’t fill that gap with some real connection time with the people in our lives.

I’m not sure about New Year’s Resolutions, but if I have any, it would be to look at everything through the lens of a new manifesto: analog over digital. Just as with the Agile Manifesto, the word “over” is of utmost importance here. It doesn’t mean I’m done with digital. It just means that I want to look at the things I do, and critically evaluate whether or not an analog approach could be more meaningful. For example, should I stop tracking my runs on Strava, and just enjoy them instead? Should I have a go at hand journaling instead of putting everything in Day One? The answer may very well be “no”, but I’d like to ask the question more in 2019.

Happy New Year, everyone.