"Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day."
"What has vanished over the past 40 years isn’t just Americans’ rising incomes. It’s their sense of control over their lives. The young college graduates working in jobs requiring no more than a high-school degree, the middle-aged unemployed who have permanently opted out of a labor market that has no place for them, the 45- to 60-year-olds who say they will have to delay their retirement because they have insufficient savings—all these and more are leading lives that have diverged from the aspirations that Americans until recently believed they could fulfill. This May, a Pew poll asked respondents if they thought that today’s children would be better or worse off than their parents. Sixty-two percent said worse off, while 33 percent said better."
"The big takeaway is: Snapchat is onto something, and it’s much bigger than sexting. The service is a reaction to the saturation of social networking and the dominant interaction modes on Facebook and Twitter. It’s an immune response, nurtured in the tweaky rebelliousness of teenagedom, to the forces of Big Data, behavioral targeting, and the need to record every stupid little thing in the world. Snapchat might be the defining product of our technophilic, technoanxious age."
"News is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind."
"This is a triumph of the teen-girl aesthetic approach to the world: that you surround yourself with images that you feel reflect who you are or who you want to be. This used to be derided as narcissistic or derivative, but aesthetic curation is now a widely popular, socially accepted, and venture-backed phenomenon … And in the digital era, the teen bedroom has glass walls. Everyone can weigh in. ‘When your picture is “liked” and commented on, it is a great boost of self-confidence and brings along much gratification.’"
"The never-ending stream of social-media images is routinely declared a symptom of our collective narcissism or intellectual weakness. Again, perhaps we can take a cue from teenage girls. They’re quite aware that they’re seen as frivolous and self-absorbed, but on a deeper level they know they’re engaged in an important project: figuring out who they are and what they want to be. If we took our Instagrams and Snapchats and reblogs half as seriously as they do, perhaps we’d reach some new insight about our adult selves, too."