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Mind the quality of the information
Useless information is more engaging, avoid that trap
Actionable tl;dr: an information diet is not about the amount of information consumed, but its quality: concise, actionable, and durable.
Social networks could be about friends helping friends and creating value, where less time spent is best, by a greater ROTI.
Usually, social networks are about influencers monetizing audiences, influencing their followers, and selling them stuff they may not need. Here, more engagement is more monetized attention and more time consumed.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” — Henry David Thoreau
The most “engaging” information is often the most outraging, useless (not actionable), and with a shorter shelf-life. Counterintuitively, alcohol may dehydrate people, and bad information will make them more misinformed. To note:
The quality of the information is not a matter of being factual, thoroughly researched, or fact-checked. Bad information is worse than wrong.
The quality of the information is a matter of actionability, and usefulness, for significant impact and for a long time. Quality depends on the purpose.
Information has never been more abundant than today, but perhaps as a consequence, its average quality and the discoverability of good information have never been lower.
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.” — Daniel J. Boorstin
The current trend is towards worse information: more engaging, more useless. When attention is paid to the “quality” of the information, it is more often toward factualness than usefulness.
For the foreseeable future, it is on you. Take care.
PS: this post is motivated by the recent change in the behavior of Twitter (now undone), which would show the recommended tweets (“For you”) rather than the “Following” tab. Essentially, they were misinformation for me, rat poison grade, way beyond what you may find in the workplace or social events, where you may interact with people outside your usual “echo chamber.” Of course, thousands or millions of people consider those tweets to be “reliable knowledge,” beware.