Jenny Odell on Impact of Connection

Jenny Odell, author of How to do Nothing, gave a talk at the Long Now Foundation, where she discussed her new book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock. The whole talk is worth a listen (I suggest subscribing to Long Now in your podcast player of your choice, but the above video will do too). One of the last things she says in the interview portion really stuck with me:

Just think about the difference between getting a lot of engagement on a post online, and your friend writing you a letter, and you sit down and read the letter. it’s from one person. It feels so different, because they wrote it for you.

I think this is a good way to think of “engagement”. The ten minutes someone might spend reading a personal letter seems much more impactful than the few seconds of engagement you might get from multiple people on a social media post.