Make Twitter Fun Again… By Taking Breaks from Twitter
Tiffany Shlain in Conversation with
Andrew Keen on Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, filmmaker and internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain, author of 24/6, discusses how to deal with the screen-heavy world we’re living in.
From the episode:
Andrew Keen: I think you’re doing a good job, Tiffany, in the sense that it’s all too easy now to become a critic of technology. That’s become the new zeitgest. Whereas 10, 15 years ago, everyone was embracing technology. And you, as a tech technology maven and veteran, are arguing that we need to to walk the fine line between hate and love. You had an excellent Fast Company piece this month, too, about making Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter fun again. How do we do that?
Tiffany Shlain: Well, I think that this is a lot about, how do we use these technologies to amplify who we are—and even thinking about McLuhan—instead of amputating who we are? There are so many good things, especially during the pandemic. Just imagine going through this pandemic before the Web. It would’ve been a very different experience. You’d be sitting there without a lot of news. You wouldn’t be able to probably do the work you did. You wouldn’t be able to go to school. You wouldn’t be able to socialize.
So it’s incredible we have the Web, but it’s taking that beat and thinking, should I be on it all the time? Is it better as a phone call? Should I invite someone over at a distance to have a conversation? Should I turn the screens off to think? Like, I’ve taken so much input over the headlines and things I’m reading, and should you just sit and trust your own brain for a little bit to do some work on everything that you’ve received through the screens? Because I think that we are just so used to the first thing we look at in the morning, the last thing we look at, and then all throughout the day, and there’s great power in using your mind and creating enough expanse to turn it off.
There’s incredible things you can do with Twitter or Facebook and Instagram if you curate and use them wisely. And I think we need to think, you’re curating your brain. The people you follow on social media are shaping your brain. If you’re only looking at stressful news headlines, you’re going to just be high cortisol level in your brain. If you choose to follow people that challenge you and inspire you and make you think different and look at different perspectives, you’re going to challenge your mind. You know, all of that is well and good, but also don’t be on it too much. I find that they become your streams of thoughts. And who do you want to let in to your precious, incredible brain? Which is the ultimate technology, the human brain.
Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and founder of The Webby Awards. Tiffany’s films and work have received over eighty awards and distinctions including being selected for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future. NPR named her UC Berkeley address as one of its best commencement speeches and her films have premiered at top festivals including Sundance. She lectures worldwide on the relationship between technology and humanity. Find out more at TiffanyShlain.com and follow @TiffanyShlain.