Taking care of your brain

Ev Williams just published his reflections on Medium’s mission  five years in, 'Words still matter'.

It’s that the information we consume matters as much as the food we put in our bodies. It affects our thinking, our behavior, how we understand our place in the world. And how we understand others.
— Ev Williams

I've been aware of the information I consume for about 5 years now. I have a vivid memory of discovering Quora in early 2013 and thinking 'wow, I've been consuming a lot of crap, I should try to read better quality articles'. I try to encourage my friends and my family to be aware too. But all of this is invisible. You don't see your brain. It's harder to notice. Also, you have fewer incentives to cultivate your mind VS to cultivate your body. People can't see it. But it's so important.

Conscious choice matters. It’s the difference between being a knowledge seeker and a channel flipper. The internet is amazingly well tuned to give you what you “want” — whether you want it or not. If you can’t look away from a car crash, it will surmise you want more car crashes and will create them for you. If you can’t stop eating junk food, it will serve you up a platter.

It’s not that there aren’t journalists, publishers, and thinkers doing great work and putting it out there. But the realities of the attention economy are very tough for those who create things designed for anything but the widest possible (i.e., lowest-common-denominator) audience. For ad-driven sites, the revenue per reader has been dropping for years (while the experience worsens and privacy disintegrates), leaving little room for research, fact checking, or polish… let alone nuance or complexity. The system demands quantity. It demands speed. And it demands little else — except our clicks.
— Ev Williams

There's so much work to be done in that space. It's the next big thing after health in my opinion. Personally, I've been experimenting a lot. My current 'brain diet' includes Medium, Quora, a curated Twitter feed, Reddit, a few high-quality newsletters in very specific domains, some Headspace. A bit of Facebook/Instagram. No TV, no news. And damn it's hard. I feel like someone trying to avoid salt and sugar. It's everywhere.

Start taking care of your brain. Because, as Ev Williams is pointing it out clearly in his recent piece, nobody else has an incentive to do so.