About a month ago, I spent a few hours introspecting about my life. I didn’t sleep well, which was a huge problem since I wasn’t sleeping much anymore. I can usually overcome the lack of quantity by increasing the quality, but when both of these things are bad, I’m in a very difficult position.
It seemed to me that I had a lot to do and a lot of time for it. Something had to give. It’s one thing to go through this for a few days (like a week before the Kickstarter), but I’ve been in this situation for months. It was not good for my family, nor for my mind, nor for my health.
But when I evaluated everything, I realized that it is not really a problem of time. It was time. It was a problem of energy and attention.
My time was wasted. It was like there was a hole in my watch.
The great algorithmic gods in the sky must have known about my struggle, because YouTube started recommending many videos related to this problem. Writers, biologists, psychologists, professors, and ex-Facebook employees have all published content with the main point: the current state of social media is a problem.
Platforms that originally functioned to keep people connected have become much better at tearing us apart. The algorithms that used to show us what we care about the most have been changed to show us what holds our attention longer.
Companies have spent billions of dollars trying to get us to spend as much time as possible scrolling through their news feeds. The more time we spend scrolling, the more money they make, and the less time we spend on things of real value.
After taking a closer look at my time, I realized that I spend an incredible amount of time scrolling. I would sit down to eat and scroll. I would push my son on the swing and spin. I would wait for my wife to get ready for the date and scroll. I would edit the podcast and scroll. I’d take a “two-minute” break from working on something worthwhile, and thirty minutes later I’d realize I’d been scrolling the entire time. I sat on the toilet and twisted until my legs fell asleep.
It had to be stopped.
It’s not like scrolling made my life any better, and it would be easy to make a strong case that it made it worse.
And while I didn’t waste time on futile political debates or hop aboard the latest outrage train, I watched them unfold. And I think there are many of us. Several studies have shown that the vast majority of posts on social media platforms come from a very small minority of users. It’s like a car accident on the side of the road. Most of us have enough sense to drive past it, but when we drive by, we sure spend a lot of time staring at the carnage.
And just as rubber neck slows us to a crawl on the highway, scrolling through the news feed slows our productivity to a near-stop.
Realizing how much of my attention scrolling had taken up, I unlocked my phone and started deleting social media apps from it. But when I started the process and watched the app icons dance across the screen, I hesitated.
I wasn’t sure if I could do it. What were the consequences of removing these things from my life? Did I really want to? If I were to eliminate the scapegoat that was wasting my time, would I be willing to blame myself in the future?
First I uninstalled the Twitter app. It wasn’t a particularly hard decision because I hate Twitter and haven’t spent much time on it anyway. But when my finger hovered over Facebook, I stopped for a while.
I was thinking about all the good things about Facebook and specifically the BGDL Facebook community. It’s basically the only place I post and comment on, and it’s home to almost 9,000 people trying to achieve the same thing I’m doing – making great games that people love.
I closed the phone. I needed a plan.
I didn’t need to cut Facebook out of my life. I needed to control it and make it work for me.
I jotted down some notes:
-Delete the Facebook app from my phone.
– See what is happening in the BGDL group 2-3 times a day, but only with the help of my laptop.
– Avoid scrolling through your news feed at all costs.
And about a month ago, I started doing it, and life definitely hasn’t gotten any worse.
Instead of scrolling, I spend more time talking to the people I care about the most. My productivity has increased significantly and I get more done in less time. My kids don’t have to tug at my shirt to get me to look up from my phone to pay attention to them. I am more active in the BGDL group because my time is more focused and focused. I read more. I write more. I sleep better.
Would something like this work for you? May be. I’m not here to preach any “correct” lifestyle, and your achievements may vary. But it definitely worked for me.
In search of a better way
A little over a year ago, I started brainstorming and thinking about what it would look like to create a website where the BGDL community could live. The Facebook group was growing, but even then I was well aware of the limitations and shortcomings of the platform.
I wanted a site with all the best parts of the Facebook community, without the worst.
I wanted a place where game designers could hang out that was made for us and by us.
I wanted a platform that was focused on helping designers make great games that people love.
I wanted the training courses to help people grow as designers.
I wanted the forums to ask questions.
I needed a calendar to organize Kickstarter launches, conventions and playtest events.
I wanted to create a job board for freelancers to find opportunities and for publishers to find great people to work with.
I wanted a blog where people could post articles and create diaries.
I wanted people to form groups and subgroups around the activity and its design.
I need a way to track the development time of a game.
I need a random game idea generator.
I wanted monthly design challenges.
I wanted an incredible mobile experience.
And I wanted the news feed to work for us, not against us.
No algorithms. No collecting data and selling it to the highest bidder. Without drunk uncles.
And after a year of tremendous work, BGDL+ is almost here.
Is this the perfect solution? No. But I hope you’ll join me in finding a platform that offers a better way.
Even with all these features, this is just the ground floor, and I’m extremely excited for what’s to come.
Thanks for the great community and I can’t wait to share BGDL+ with you soon!