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July 1, 2024 4 mins

Look at your own highlights, rather than other people's

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is that old photos can make for good scrolling.
If you are looking for something to do when you
don't have much energy, a little reminiscing can feel more

(00:27):
fun than checking social media. So a few weeks ago,
my iPhone XS, which I believe I purchased at the
end of twenty eighteen or the beginning of twenty nineteen,
finally gave up the ghost. When I went to buy
a new one and transfer my data, I realized I
had somehow turned the backups off. This made the process

(00:51):
of pulling my information off the old phone rather tedious
and incomplete. The good news is my photos and contacts
made it. My apps did not. I decided to conduct
a natural experiment to see what would happen when I
didn't put any of the usual social media apps back

(01:11):
on my phone. I am not committed to abstinence, and
they may be back on by the time you hear this,
but I thought I would try it for a few weeks.
How would my time change? The answer is that I
still spend a lot of time on my phone. The
truth is that we all have low energy time when

(01:33):
it is hard to do much else. I have read
a few books on the Kindle app, which I did reload,
and I have been more responsive on email. I've read
a lot of The New York Times, but I sometimes
don't even want to read anything. So what then, Well,
it turns out that old photos make for good scrolling.

(01:55):
I have been fairly impressed with Apple's photo features, where
they pull together shot of you and a certain other
person over the years, or show highlights from a trip
to Disney in twenty sixteen or whatever. It's like a
slide show that I actually care about. But I often
then use that as a jumping off point. Let me
search for photos from Upstate New York and Fall of

(02:17):
twenty twenty one. Let me look at photos from that
visit to the orchid show at Longwood Gardens in February
of twenty seventeen. This can fill a few minutes, which
is basically what social media scrolling does and requires very
little energy. But unlike Instagram, where I am looking at
someone else's carefully curated life, this is my own curated life. Hey,

(02:43):
look how cute my kids were in twenty seventeen, or wow,
remember when we used to carry the kids in that backpack?
Or oh, that's the time I made that gigantic sand castle.
My little experiment has reminded me that boredom is a
powerful force. We will seek out something that can fill it.
What that thing is will vary based on what is available. Obviously,

(03:06):
thirty years ago, no one had smartphones or social media,
so we filled the time with something else. I do
remember reading a lot of early Internet forum posts back
in the day before that, I probably reread a lot
of magazines or something. But if you have ever enjoyably
spent an odd fifteen minutes looking through a random photo album,

(03:28):
then you will know that it has a lot in
common with scrolling. But no one's trying to sell you something,
convince you that the world is falling apart, or make
you feel bad that you are not making your own
blueberry jam. Old photos make for good scrolling, so they
might be worth substituting for a little scrolling time in

(03:52):
the meantime. This is Laura. Thanks for listening, and here's
to making the most of our time by thanks for
listening to before Breakfast. If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback.
You can reach me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com.

(04:21):
Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts
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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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