The Internet

The eerie coincidences of the Internet

Liked The Internet Thinks We Don’t Know Its Secret. But I Do. by Merritt Tierce (Slate)

What do I mean when I say the internet is reading my mind? I don’t mean simply that it collects my data and observes patterns and interacts with me by reconfiguring that data in ways designed to engage me… I’m also not talking about my awareness that Instagram is listening, that even when my microphone is “off” or my Instagram account disabled, I know other apps are listening, or my phone itself is listening, or such now-standard input-output cross-platform fence-jumping. I’m not even talking about how my phone is “looking” at things I see in the world… At all times, I understand that the internet is using data I somehow gave it, and that those processes and technologies are now too complex for me to track. But it feels aggressive to me, in the way it would feel aggressive if suddenly every kind of advertisement everywhere you went in the world was designed only for you.

On Friday, after my husband got assaulted, we spent hours searching how to wash off pepper spray (and then cleaning up). Finally after he’d taken like five showers we lay down to decompress and watch some TV. I’m bad at working the smart TV so it just randomly turns on on some Samsung channel despite my attempts to leave it on something inoffensive; a billiards tournament came on (something we’ve never watched). He left it going while I got ready, and two ads repeated: for laundry detergent and personal injury lawyers. Logically, we know it was a coincidence, but humans are so good at seeing patterns and causality — and that instinct is reinforced when sometimes it *is* true that the Internet is spying on you.

Personal Growth Relationships

Living through loneliness

Liked Loneliness by James G (

I felt like I needed to protect myself from what other people might think about me.

I tried to read people’s minds, as if I could know what they were thinking. What did they think of me? Was I interesting? Did they like talking with me? I knew, intellectually, this was impossible. By that time, the pattern was etched in my mind.

I asked myself a lot of questions. What if people were looking at me? What if I said the wrong thing?

There’s so much in this essay that I relate to! I’ve been lonely a lot of my life, and tried for many years to compensate with self-sufficiency. I refused to let having no one to go with stop me; I went to concerts alone, I hiked alone. But concerts aren’t that fun on your own, and hiking alone has its risks.

About ten years ago, I’d finally had enough of not having friends nearby and was determined to make them. I built a group of friends around writing, which ultimately broke apart a couple years ago. In the time since, I’ve discussed what went wrong with the friends I kept individually, and grown much closer to them as a result of honest conversation.

Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

Catching perfectionism

Liked “The longer you leave it, the better it has to be” and other weird, wrong ideas from my perfectionist brain (Rach Smith’s digital garden)

…I felt an old familiar anxiety around the first thing I wrote and published after my short break. I was examining where it came from when I realised that I was telling myself that *the longer I put something off, the better it needs to be when I actually do it*.

Business Entrepreneurship Featured Relationships Society

Build a reputation instead of a personal brand

Replied to The personal brand paradox (

When we position ourselves as a brand, we are forced to project an image of what we believe most people will approve of and admire and buy into. The moment we cater our creativity to popular opinion is the precise moment we lose our freedom and autonomy.

But rather than manufacturing a personal brand, why not build a reputation? Why not develop our character? Imagine what we could learn from each other if we felt worthy as we are instead of who we project ourselves to be.

I think it’s interesting to look at personal brands through the lens of insecurity. I imagine many people think of it as “positioning” or storytelling, but underneath, those are needed if you’re afraid you won’t be enough on your own.

I think it can be helpful to consider personal branding as a form of self discovery, a tool to help determine what you want to do, but there can be a risk of self containment.

Lifestyle Mental Health Self Care

Defining rest

Liked The Riddle of Rest by Lawrence YeoLawrence Yeo (

[R]est is when you’re not associating your self-worth with what you have to do next.

Getting Shit Done Mental Health

Watched How My Mental Health Affects My Productivity

Watched Mental Health And Productivity: A Peek Inside My Journey by Sarra CannonSarra Cannon from

Mental health is a topic close to my heart, because my own journey toward my goals has been as much about mental health as anything else. Today’s video is a casual, real chat about how my mental health affects my productivity, what my journey has been like up to this moment, and how I’m working […]

Anxiety and depression do impact your productivity

Task clarity — bite-size actions identified in advance that help her feel like she’s making progress towards her “dream future”

  • appreciate small joys
  • focus on physical basics — sleep enough, eat well
  • pay attention to your behavior — look for triggers of negative spirals
  • acknowledge your tough days, let yourself do simple tasks when feeling bad
  • pay attention to negative self-talk
Getting Shit Done Self Care

Self optimization is not the answer

Liked by Sam Dylan Finch (Twitter)

…drinking however many cups of water They Say To, having a consistent morning routine, journaling for 30 minutes a day, or whatever is the missing piece you’ve latched onto for today.

Have you considered that self-optimization isn’t the answer?

Is it possible that you aren’t a problem or a project?

Art and Design Featured Society Writing

Writing Metrics and Capitalism

Replied to Writing Is about the Right Words, not the MOST Words by Lincoln Michel (Counter Craft)

Why are we more comfortable talking about output than art?

Neil Gaiman QTs Scalzi, saying "I wrote Coraline in 50 words a night," in response to Scalzi commenting on a couple people who said he couldn't call himself a full-time writer if he's only working four hours a day, to which he points out that's awesome and also writing is more than typing

Writers are often less comfortable talking about aesthetics than productivity.

I’ve had this feeling about NaNoWriMo for a while, which is why this year I switched to a daily time goal rather than word count. And I didn’t write 50,000 words… but I didn’t need to. What I needed to do was reach the end of my book, which I did. I’ve gotten a lot out of NaNo, including dear friendships, and have nothing to prove anymore.

But I think this is interesting analysis of why it’s proven so successful: it’s easy to measure how much or how long you’ve written. It’s not possible to measure quality. And capitalism drives us towards quantification, towards the tangible.

If people won’t respect your qualitative creativity, maybe they’ll at least respect your quantitative output?

It ties to imposter syndrome, and the fact that honestly IMO it takes about ten years to learn how to tell a story and write a complete work that works, but that’s a long time to feel like you’ve got nothing to show. At least if you have word count that feels real, versus recognizing the shift in your storytelling abilities, learning what writing method works for you, and learning to recognize what is good and what needs work, to be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses.

We invest a lot of our identities in the things we make, so it’s not enough to be a writer: we must be a good writer, otherwise we’re wasting our time, under capitalism. And we can’t weigh what makes a good writer, so metrics let us feel more comfortable in the identity.

it’s important to remember that time spent in front of your computer, the number of drafts written, the number of words written… none of those actually mean anything by themselves.

This makes me think too of my feelings about website analytics, and how the ubiquity and normativity of tracking leads us to fall into the trap of tracking stats we don’t have any need or purpose for. What we can measure becomes our focus, because it’s concrete, and leads to the presumption that more is better. It’s easy to be distracted from our ultimate goals by more quantifiable factors.

Getting Shit Done Personal Growth Work

Scared of Being Imperfect

Liked Wandering Aimfully – Are you feelin’… PERFECTIONISM? by Caroline Zook (Wandering Aimfully)

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At the heart of perfectionism for me is fear and control.

When we try to make something perfect, what we’re really doing is trying to control people’s perception of us.

We’re afraid of looking dumb, or inadequate, or careless, and so we tinker and tinker until we remove any opportunity for potential embarrassment or rejection.

But when we do that, I think we’re giving the things we make a little too much power.

We’re saying that our work output IS our worth, and that’s why the risk of launching something imperfect feels so fear-inducing.

Fear of looking dumb and being caught out as (inadequately) self-taught are my stumbling blocks. Fear that I’m not as good as I think I am. But, even if I’m not, I’ll never find out till I share my work.

Personal Growth

The Weight of Finishing

Quoted Out There: On Not Finishing (Longreads)

What happens if the stories we tell ourselves about our lives leave us lonely, wrestling with meaning?

We talked about how I have a desire to tell a specific story: a story of perseverance, a story I have been telling myself for so long as a way to make sense of my own life, as a way to prove, to myself, that I could love myself, and deserve the love of others. For a long time I have believed that love and joy come after. They come after accomplishment. They come after pursuit. They don’t live in the present. They have to be earned.

I didn’t want to be doing, I wanted to be done, so that when I was done, I could say I did a thing. … Accomplishment happens in an instant. Accomplishment is awarded the moment the finishing is done. But being out there takes a long time, and if it is only done for the sake of accomplishment, then it feels like an even longer, more painful time.

And yet: when was the last time anyone ever told a man to be ordinary? Think of the difference that would make, to begin to dismantle our need to be heroes, to finish things, to consider ourselves defined by accomplishment, particularly in a world where women make less money on the dollar and yet are defined, in settings both casual or professional, by what they have done or failed to do.

How, then, can we learn to love the ocean that signifies duration, the ocean that takes time? How can we acknowledge the plot when it calls for us to be ordinary? It takes a certain kind of grace to give yourself permission to do this, a certain kind of grace to say to yourself I’ve done enough, and sit down for a second, a minute, a day, a long time.

There is something about finishing that our culture is obsessed with. I even think of finishing school, that age-old culture-training course for women to enter into society. For them, finishing manifested itself as a right-to-enter. Which is the case so often, isn’t it? The act of finishing allows someone in society to enter into another realm of society.

Meaning unshared is barely meaning at all.

— Devin Kelly

I have been working, the past few years, on separating my self worth from my accomplishments and accepting that I am enough as I am. It doesn’t matter if I never finish writing my book. It doesn’t matter that I’m “a nobody.” It doesn’t diminish my value to lead an ordinary, simple life.

It’s tricky sometimes to balance this recognition with the fact that I do have goals I want to accomplish. To recognize that what I am doing is hard and there is value to doing it but also that the value in finishing it is not tied to my value.