No Facebook Or Twitter Or Vitriol

As I sit here watching Amy play tennis with her coach Mason (I hurt my shoulder serving so I’m taking a few days off), I’m reflecting on my first week back on the grid after a five week sabbatical. A few things come to mind.

1. Amy’s tennis game has improved dramatically over the past six weeks. She’s always had nice strokes, but she definitely has been playing beginner tennis. As I watch her play, everything has elevated at least a level for her including her confidence on the court. It’s beautiful and I expect her tennis girlfriends will have a big challenge on their hands when she returns. And, I’m ready to start (and look forward to) playing mixed doubles with her.

2. I stayed off Facebook and Twitter this week, other than to respond on Twitter to some @bfeld mentions. I was too busy with other stuff to really get in the flow of it and I didn’t really find myself caring, as I’d rather spend my Twitter / Facebook time walking Brooks, staring out the window, watching classic tennis matches from the 1980s on Youtube, or reading.

3. When I did bump into social and news stuff, especially politics, there was an amazing amount of vitriol in the world. I know that politics and the now year long election cycle that stretches endlessly in front of us adds significantly to this, but there also feels like a lot of global schadenfreude in the system, especially in the news. It’d be ironic if the lack of Twitter in my diet last week drove this, but somehow I doubt it.

4. I really missed my partners at Foundry Group and was delighted to re-engage with them. I expected to feel this way when I left for sabbatical but it’s always powerfully reassuring to experience it.

5. Very few dramatic things happened while I was gone. While there was a bunch of transaction stuff in our portfolio that my partners handled, there were no fundamental shifts in the matrix, the AI didn’t yet become sentient, and the moon didn’t split into seven pieces. I read a few books last month that reminded me that humans consistently overestimate our importance in the universe – this was once again reinforced by re-entry.

In a conversation with a CEO of a company I’m an investor in, he said “Wow – you seem incredible chill after being gone for a while.” It feels great to be chill.

  • I love reading about how you balance work and life in general.

    Will you do anything different over the coming months as a result of the most recent sabbatical?

    • Unclear since I’m just rolling back into things. At the minimum I’ll be playing more tennis.

  • You deserve it, sir. A few observations. On #4, it’s really awesome that you guys have built a real partnership. I am not sure if I’ve seen one exactly like this. I’d love for you to write more about how that’s come to be. On #3, it happens in tech too. Outrage is viral. People just sit on their screens and wait for something to be pissed about. Slacktivism, but now online. It’s easy to sit at home and be outraged at some presidential candidate or tech company. So, why is it happening? I believe there’s a deep-seated anxiety among many that they simply can’t participate in the engine that is driving the economy (tech) and governance (politics). The result is the vitriol we see online.

  • You ever go on a Facebook detox? Like no Facebook for weeks at a time? It has some very surprising emotional effects.

    • Just did a five week one. It was very satisfying.

  • David Parker

    I’ve found that I don’t miss using Facebook much, with the exception that it’s a necessity for (certain) events and my close friends that don’t live near me.

    In order to get a much better experience, I’ve ditched the newsfeed with the Chrome extension “Newsfeed Eradicator” (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/news-feed-eradicator-for/fjcldmjmjhkklehbacihaiopjklihlgg?hl=en) which hides much of the vitriol and things I don’t care to see. I also don’t have FB installed on my phone.

    According to RescueTime, I’ve dropped my average FB time to ~3-5 minutes a day, down from 25-30 minutes before using the extension.

    Check it out and congrats on the time off!

  • Steve Mink

    Sounds like being off the grid was a very liberating experience. With some great books along the way. If you’re interested in taking your new found “chill” to a whole new level, I’d recommend another book: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.