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Mindless vs Deliberate: a better model for consuming content online

June 12, 2020

This post is a draft, please don't share it. DM me on Twitter if you have feedback.

Mindless is the current model of consumption for social apps.

You open them and get something new to engage/delight/outrage you each time.

It works because people have a need to know what happens around them, developed for survival purposes. You can't turn it off.

The problem is that most of what you see in social apps has nothing to do with your survival, despite tickling the same parts of your brain.

As our phone usage went up, our attention spans shortened. Today most people are no longer able to sit and read for 1 hour without getting the urge to check their phones.

These apps create constant micro interruptions in your day, make deep work impossible, and hurt your capacity to focus and think.

Deliberate is a much better model for consuming content online.

I would define it as putting users in control and empowering them to do what they want without black-box algorithms trying to enforce a behavior.

Hey is deliberate, it lets you choose who lands in your inbox and where emails from each sender should go (Imbox, Feed, Papertrail).

Hey, the new email service by Basecamp, is a wonderful example of deliberate, mindful software. Instead of letting any content (emails) in, it lets you choose who and what lands in your inbox.

This deliberate model is a rising trend in many new products that many more people should try.

In developing Mailbrew I followed the same principles. You decide the content you want to receive, when you want to receive it and the service follows your directives.

This new wave of apps and services gives me hope in the future of tech. It empowers people to be the best version of themselves, build habits and be mindful of their time.

Think if all the services you use worked like that.