Ned’s Media Diary

Overall this felt like a week of frustrated habits as I adjusted to term; in each of the four discovery mechanisms for textual media I use (social media, directly visiting websites like some kind of primate, email, RSS), I kept opening something automatically before realizing that I had urgent homework, research, organizing, partying, or fevering to attend to. Starting, however, from the means of discovery:

Social Media (95% Twitter)

On Twitter itself, I consumed second-order memes on the OpenAI text generator, several lukewarm takes on democratic primary candidates and red-brownism, ambient basketball energy, an excellent suggestion for a new TV show, a great playlist of Caribbean pop, and one truly excellent metajoke, which of course are what make the whole enterprise worthwhile. A terrible browser extension (StayFocusd) limits me to 30 minutes of Twitter a day on my laptop; I hit the 5 minute warning on three days, and ran all the way out of time on one.

I followed few outbound links from Twitter this week, and the first one I did follow my eyes immediately bounced off of. My note at the time says “too tired for imagination.” I ran into Steve Salaita’s latest blog post later in the week and loved it. That sent me to what is the only 2-deep reading I’ve recorded, the New York Times article recounting his firing. Another day, far too late one night in that daze of mindless stimulation, I consumed two articles on Lisa Frank’s old factory, labour practices, and tragic einstellung. Just today I read the LA Times article about gig-economy startups using home cooking businesses as cover for a law they needed, and missed California food for a bit.

During a midday lazy Mastodon check-in I was excited to read an article about a mutual, but it was in French, my chrome install doesn’t automatically offer to translate, and I couldn’t muster the agency to do so manually, so I sent it to molder with the other neglected tabs.

On Facebook I saw distant friends confused by a debate over Bernie Sanders (invisible to me), and was saddened in sympathy with their confused sadness. (This happened just before the Jacobin issue for the month arrived with Bernie on the cover.)

Direct Visits

Because AFROPUNK uses frickin’ React or something and doesn’t have RSS feeds for its writers I manually visited Clarkisha Kent’s page when my calendar reminded me that her excellent column had updated.

I also binged Captain Disillusion videos on YouTube late one night. This might be the only media choice I really regret, though I very much appreciate his bit.

I visited the Ars Technica homepage from muscle memory several times, enjoying the excellent (if overly strongly stated) comparison between Google’s self-driving car efforts and Xerox’s personal computer in addition to ten other fairly forgettable articles, on pok√©mon glitches, structural racism by any other name, microwave resonators, Standard Ad flexing slightly, this year’s Dance Your PhD, confirmation that I don’t need to see the Alita movie, basic epistemology, a boardgame I’ve never played and probably never will but keep hearing about, and a new phishing tech.


Amazon Chronicles, Stratechery, The Counterpublic Papers, SCIOPS, and The First and 15th. I followed no outbound links from these newsletters, and read most a day or two after receiving.

RSS (feedly with 176 sources)

I opened my feed reader three times this week. The first time I read webcomics, closed many things after skimming, saved Anne Helen Petersen’s new article to read later. The subsequent times I read only webcomics, looking for a moment of respite in meetings or classes.

miscellaneous other media (nontextual or nonline)

  • One (1) Jacobin magazine cover, mentioned above.
  • Two (2) housemates playing different saves of the same Zelda game.
  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin at the Boston SciFi Film Festival.
  • A play-reading that I unexpectedly acted for at the last minute as part of a DSA coffeehouse; also featuring an excellent children’s book, some dang good folk / union songs, and other acts that were more of a mixed bag.
  • Many readings; for class, to prepare a reading list for a reading group, to prepare for lab group meetings.
  • Finished a Pandemic Legacy Season Two campaign (it’s a boardgame that tells you to destroy pieces permanently, good fun).
  • Inhaled the entire Alita: Battle Angel manga in two sittings, to celebrate it being the weekend.
  • Bits of music from Spotify scattered about. Had Lemonade stuck in my head briefly but of course it’s not on that platform, and (on my phone, where it’s more of a hassle) I didn’t enough to open Youtube.

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