Don’t Click the Bell

I have 42 unread LinkedIn notifications now. I had 20+ Facebook notifications the other day, and I have 20+ unread Twitter notifications now. 

These platforms badly want me to click on their little bell. You can tell because they keep multiplying things about which to notify you. 

Now the platforms don’t just tell you about people’s reaction to your content – they’ll notify you about other people’s content. Twitter will notify you about a tweet someone else sent. Facebook will notify you about somebody’s fundraiser. And of course LinkedIn has for quite some time been telling you about everyone who is looking at your profile. 

It’s enough to drive a man to distraction. And it does. These things are increasingly trivial.

I used to check in a little more often. It turns out that not doing so has had no major consequences for my well-being, other than decluttering and simplifying and re-centering my life for the better. Especially since I no longer share proximity in “meatspace” with the vast majority of my social media network (thanks also to the current pandemic), ignoring my notifications has had little downside. 

If I don’t look, there’s a real sense that notifications: “don’t exist: – at least not until I let them into your mind (sort of like a “Schroedinger’s notification”). They have almost no effect on me. If they do, they are rarely actionable. And I expect the proportion of useful ones to decline anyway, in keeping with trends.

If I need to find out something about someone’s status, I can go and visit their page. Better yet, I can text or call them. If someone needs to tell me something important, they can text or call me – or better yet, let me know when I see them. 

I’d kind of have to be a sucker to keep clicking those little bells every time I engage with one of these (largely) regrettable platforms. So I reckon I won’t. 

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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