I have observed in myself this dynamic of low-effort, low-value activities removing the need to do high-effort, high-value activities. The graph below illustrates what I mean.
The more I tweet, the less I blog.
Tweets are easy, simple and fast. They are also low-value, ephemeral and simple. When I tweet I satisfy this urge that I have to write and express myself. It reminds me of constantly taking the pressure out of a system.
The problem with this is that I never build up that urge to express a more complex thing. I find that if I limit these low-value frequent outlets, I eventually feel a pressure inside me to create, to express myself. Then I make something that is much more valuable (at least to me!) and expresses a complete thought as opposed to a digital belch. It’s not even an option to me because I will get a need to do it. That need never happens if I’m constantly relieving the pressure.
There is something here related to the concepts in Amusing Ourselves to Death, which was written before the social sharing digital world we are in now, but continues to be relevant.