Note — Feb 03, 2019

Be Happier on Social Media by Acting Like a 19th-Century Parisian

Seen in → No.65

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Pretty good advice for social media, by way of Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt.

If you’re not quite ready to quit Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, a more measured approach is to treat virtual spaces more like a bustling street—a place where, like a flâneur, you can pick up a lot of information by observing the action, while being more reticent to offer opinions and circumspect about posting. […]

In other words, flânerie is a charmingly subversive act, a refusal to be swayed by the vagaries of the moment while committing to investigating the trends and events rather than ignoring them. […]

By simply refusing to provide the desired engagement, or at least slowing down the pace of our interactions and taking time to think, we can collectively, and very politely, undermine the expectations for empty affirmations and recognize the effects of groupthink. This could change the tenor of the cultural conversation and make actual engagement meaningful again.