9 Ways to 'Rewild Your Attention' by Clive Thompson

Back in August, I wrote about the concept of “rewilding your attention” — why it’s good to step away from the algorithmic feeds of big social media … You can go read my original essay, but basically the concept was that the algorithms in big-tech feeds have two problems…

  • they focus heavily on the hot viral here-and-now: what highly popular folks are talking and arguing about, this very instant. And they focus on…
  • material that’s customized for you — except it’s a dull, Demographics 101 cartoon of who you are and what you’re interested in

Either way, spending too much time in the big algorithmic feeds winds up being a form of intellectual monocropping. It’s not terribly diverse or surprising. It’s not that the stuff in your feeds is all bad; some of it’s great! But it’s got a deadening sameness to it.

So the concept of “rewilding your attention” means actively choosing to poke around elsewhere. As I wrote… "Instead of crowding your attention with what’s already going viral on the intertubes, focus on the weird stuff. Hunt down the idiosyncratic posts and videos that people are publishing, oftentimes to tiny and niche audiences. It’s decidedly unviral culture — but it’s more likely to plant in your mind the seed of a rare, new idea."

  1. Follow RSS feeds and use an RSS reader like Feedly (https://feedly.com/)
  2. Fraidycat (https://fraidyc.at/) — another RSS app that allows you to sort publications according to how frequently you check them
  3. Browse rapidly through paper books
  4. Read super-old books online (through archive.org or Google Books)
  5. Rummage through discussion boards
  6. Linksurf off niche blogs
  7. Use weird search engines to bring up more surprising results (https://search.marginalia.nu/, https://wiby.me/, https://millionshort.com/, etc)
  8. Read poetry
  9. Talk to people and ask them questions
9 Ways to 'Rewild Your Attention' by Cl…