Creating and Cultivating Context

One of the points from How to do Nothing that resonated with me was the concept of context. The problem with Twitter isn't just that we're limited to 500 characters; 500 characters is more than ample for a reply to a comment from someone else. When I'm chatting with my friends very few of my messages are more than 500 characters.

The problem is that each little island of words is totally disassociated from the ones around it. Each tweet on Twitter is its own thing, and you have to build up a context in your mind to try to understand the author's point of view, or, more commonly, just become numb to people's comments.

None of what I have said so far came from me, by the way. This is all a summation of what Jenny Odell said in her book. You should go read it.

Here's my part.

Context is something to be built and protected.

We, each of us, are a lens through which a world can be seen. If that lens is fractured, scattered into dozens of tiny pieces, it's not good for a whole lot.

So it is up to each of us to decide what we want to bring into focus in our own lives. What do we want to see? What do we want to show others?

Imported from a now-defunct blog, originally published August 6, 2019

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