A Digital Dorito – 7 Takeaways No. 185

Warning labels. Why so serious? Is there a point? Social media as junk food. (Dis)trusting your memory. Regrets, I've had a few. Annoying change.

A young girl dancing on a giant Dorito. The girl is joyful, mid-dance, with her arms raised and a big smile. The Dorito is floating in a whimsical, colorful background with a light, playful atmosphere. The girl's outfit is bright and fun, with flowing fabric that moves as she dances. The scene is vibrant and energetic, capturing the fun and spontaneity of the moment.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

If you’re having difficulty viewing this email, visit 7takeaways.com/latest.
If a link to a source below leads to you a paywall read my note: Paywalls.
If someone forwarded you this email, subscribe at 7takeaways.com.

FYI, I also publish Not All News is Bad: “A Daily Antidote to Everything Else”. Something positive from the news, every day. A small drop in the bucket, perhaps, but an important reminder that beneath all the noise and consternation, there’s still a lot of good stuff happening. Not all news is bad. -Leo

1. “This car might crash and kill you.”

Should social media have a warning label? – Jacqueline Nesi, PhD – (TechnoSapiens newsletter)

I’ve been of a mixed mind on the recent announcement recommending social media have warning labels directed at youth. We have so many warnings on everything already, this seems like just another one to ignore.

Dr. Nesi’s bottom line is simpler:

But when it comes to making social media safer, our efforts might better be spent elsewhere.

A warning without tools to address the issue simply puts parents in an untenable position, possibly even making the situation worse.

My concern is that much like “thoughts and prayers”, we’ll feel better about ourselves because we think we’ve done something when in fact we’ve done nothing at all.


Support 7 Takeaways
(Or just forward this to a friend.)

2. “Being serious turns the game into a drag”

Be Sincere—Not Serious – Michael Ashcroft – (every.to)

The game, of course, is life itself. Ashcroft begins with the titled sincere versus serious, but expands to the finite/infinite game metaphor. Finite games, resulting in a winner, tend to be serious. Sometimes they’re so serious they suck the life out of everything around them. Infinite games — games played simply to keep playing — are often lighter, less stressful, and more fun if you allow them to be.

The difference between seriousness and sincerity is not how involved you are in the activities of your life, but in how tightly you grip

It’s not a loss of quality, per se, or even not having standards or trying to accomplish bold things. It’s about the journey.

Do this: Loosen your grip. Enjoy the journey.

#seriousness #sincerity

3. “Getting to the point”

Useful and Overlooked Skills – Morgan Housel – (CollabFund blog)

As a kind of educator, I struggle with the takeaway above. How much is enough really depends on the audience. Some audiences need more background and explanation. Getting to the point is a skill, but it’s always critical to view it in context.

Another “overlooked skill” Housel lists is “Respectfully interacting with people you disagree with.”

“The more the Internet exposes people to new points of view, the angrier people get that different views exist.” Handling that challenge without digging the hole deeper is one the 21st century’s most important skills.

We are digging some very deep holes right now.

The essay includes several additional items we often overlook.

Do this: Stop digging.

#skills #respect

4. “What is a TikTok dance mash up if not a digital Dorito?”

On Ultra-Processed Content – Cal Newport – (Study Hacks Blog)

Newport compares content to food, and it just works. The content we consume is, of course, food for the mind, but the comparison, or rather analogy, is much more direct. Ultra-processed content has many characteristics analogous to ultra-processed food.

This is how we should think about the ultra-processed content delivered so relentlessly through our screens. To bypass these media for less processed alternatives should no longer be seen as bold, or radical, or somehow reactionary. It’s just a move toward a self-evidently more healthy relationship with information.

Just as it’s better to eat healthier, it’s important to consume healthier as well.

Do this: Avoid junk food in all its forms.


5. “Memory is not a perfect recording device”

How collective memories can sometimes be inaccurate: Investigating the Mandela Effect – (Clearer Thinking)

I found this fascinating not so much for the Mandela effect, which is always interesting, but for some of the implications about human memory.

memories (especially older ones) are highly malleable

Malleable. Think about that for a moment: memories can be altered. Now, imagine a contentious political environment, where players on opposing sides are not afraid to leverage that to the hilt. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more in-depth discussion about this possibility.

Maybe it’s pointless, since people seem willing to dismiss inarguable evidence out of hand. Still, it’s concerning.

Do this: Question your memory. Believe the evidence.

#memory #truth

6. “But I do have a few regrets.”

23 Regrets From a 60-Year-Old Woman – Iva Ursano – (Medium)

This isn’t a list from someone who considers themselves a failure. Just the opposite, in fact.

I have to be honest, I’ve lived a pretty full and vibrant life. I’ve done a lot and seen a lot.

Regrets are, to a certain degree, inevitable. At best, they’re the result of simply making prioritized decisions. But often it’s something else, and it’s worth considering what we might have done differently, particularly in the light of what we can do differently moving forward.

Several good lessons here.

Do this: Learn from your regrets.

#aging #regrets

7. “Our first reaction is to get irritated”

Moral progress is annoying – Daniel Kelly – (Aeon)

In my day job, I deal often with individuals resistant to change. Not surprising, in the ever changing world of technology. This essay gave me an additional perspective on resistance to change, why it happens, and why it’s woven into our nature. The author approaches it from the perspective of social norms changing for the better.

But changing the social world for the better will very often mean changing some old, harmful norms and replacing them with better ones. And very often, that’s not going to feel good. Much of the time, it’s going to feel preachy. It’s going to grate on your nerves. It’s going to make you roll your eyes. A lot of moral progress is going to be annoying.

It’s yet another perspective on the frustration and anger underlying many of the divisions in current society.

Do this: Use your irritation as an opportunity to more deeply understand the change you resist.

#change #progress

Additional Interesting Links

What I’m Reading

In progress:


A full list of my common sources is on the sources page, and I list the books I’ve read on my Reading List page.

Support 7 Takeaways

Your support helps keep 7 Takeaways viable. I appreciate your consideration VERY much. I have options for recurring Support (Monthly/Quarterly/Yearly options) as well as one-time support over in The Ask Leo! (my “day job”) store.

Another thing that really helps is sharing 7 Takeaways with a friend. Just forward this email on. And if you received this email from a friend, you can subscribe at 7takeaways.com to get your own copy every Sunday.



Leave a Comment