With moderate success, I’ve been trying for a few weeks now to reduce the amount of time I spend looking at my mobile phone. For one thing, the time there is usually not well invested, and for another, it’s good to glance up in the air for a moment. Social media tries to make you dependent with all kinds of tricks, which is perfectly fine in terms of the providers’ business value, but it doesn’t focus on what’s good for me.
Short, irrelevant chunks of information that suit my bubble have priority. If a longer story over 2 pages pops up, you are so distrustful thanks to years of clickbait advertising that you skip ahead after just a few sentences. Or, oh, the queue at the checkout is quick today, it’s my turn and I put the mobile back in my pocket.
Many characteristics are reminiscent of the early days of music streaming services, where users would switch tracks after less than 20 seconds. Artists and the industry responded with short, conformist, unthrilling new tracks. An hour of music scrolling and you’re mentally cooked. Many put down the streaming player and reacquainted themselves with the record player and vinyl.
In the pandemic, our “pub reading”-team has started a book debate podcast for which I “have to” read books that would otherwise never make it onto my reading list. Purely because of the genre. Of course, I also suggested books to the podcast team that they would never have read otherwise. For example, on the topic of the climate crisis, we went on to read two opposing books.
After some time, this interested me so much that I am now virtually on the hunt for books that take me into unknown or opposing spheres. They have to be well written and interesting, but the reading may also be demanding because the author has a very contrary opinion.
My hope is that books and audio books will perhaps become something like the long-playing records of the social media age. Simply immerse yourself in another world for an hour or more, learn something new, gain insights into other people’s minds and, last but not least, be well entertained.
I’m closing this post with less than 2,500 characters so that you’ll be served it often 😉
P.S.: Sadly the podcast “4zu1” of Kneipenlesung is in German only.