Opportunity cost II

Interestingly, it was around this time a year ago when I wrote about opportunity costs and my mind recently dwelt on this topic again while reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work. He talks about the opportunity cost of distraction, and of course, social media. He reminds all of us to think about the true cost of spending time and attention on social media.

Simply speaking, there is two. First is of course the time spent that could otherwise be used on more productive things. ‘Keeping in touch’ with thousands is known to be not just technically but cognitively impossible. So interactions on social media can at best be very shallow even if there’s rich engagement with a select few whom you are already interacting beyond the confines of the internet. So these online interactions are probably not adding that much to your relationships and the time can be better spent cementing the relationships within the family especially those living in close quarters.

The second opportunity cost is a little more subtle. And it has to do with the fact that social media trains our attention span to become even shorter and creates lots of little dopamine hits which really fools our system and cause us to lose the capacity for ‘deep work’ – the kind that requires more intense concentration and a persistent expenditure of intellectual and cognitive resources in order to achieve results.

I think these are incredibly valuable food for thought.