|Why harvest rye when you can harvest attention?|
Multitasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to extend our
power and our effectiveness. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to
Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as Resistance
I'm not very good at compartmentalizing when it comes to social media. That is, I haven't figured out how to designate specific times for its use.
Instead, I just click and scroll. Click and scroll.
I know enough to know that social media is designed for this, for intentionally "harvesting" my attention. It's how social media keeps the cash flowing.
So here is where Brueggemann fits in--Sabbath means, in part, resisting a culture of commodity and accumulation, and instead imagining one based on neighborliness and compassion.
I understand this and see the wisdom in it. But pushing back against the harvesting machine is hard.
For me, social media has a way of playing on my sense of obligation.
That is to say, that I am often consumed by a need to respond, and respond quickly, to every like to every picture and to every story. Moreover, I spend far too much time finding just the right gif, making just the right comment, and posting just the right picture.
Then there is the need for reciprocation.
An unacknowledged post or comment can send me into a worry spiral. Did I say something inappropriate? Are they upset with me? Was a line crossed?
I have literally lost sleep over such things. Really.
But with Brueggemann in mind, it's clear that my problem is not social media, nor the people who I interact with on these platforms. It's rather my expectation that I am obligated to give the harvesting machine my immediate attention.
Let me repeat that I do appreciate many of the interactions that I have on social media. I have made new friends and gotten new ideas because of these digital spaces.
But I allow it to divide me, to make me do many things at once, and nothing particularly well.
The solution, I suppose, it to follow along with Voltaire and work at cultivating my own garden, at harvesting my own attention.