This “rewilding” is the same sort of shift in attention away from commercial platforms that Jenny Odell argues for in her book. She uses the exact same analogy to “monocropping”:
A monoculture is an illuminating frame for considering attention. Created in an attempt to achieve economies of scale, monocultures reduce biodiversity and exhaust their soil. To make up for this, they’re covered in heavy amounts of fertilizer and pesticide to maintain their productivity. The analogs to commercial social media are clear. Whether they’re lying about their metrics, unfairly compensating their creators, or simply moderating your timelines without explanation or accountability, commercial social media companies create toxic social conditions in order to establish themselves as places for huge numbers of people to sink their attention. Once they have it, they turn the screws to maximize value for their owners despite the damage it does to their ecosystems.
In resisting this monoculture, I think Thompson misses a helpful middle-ground between a monocrop and a wilderness. In-between lies a garden: small-scale, intentional, low-impact cultivation of attention. A great garden takes time to establish, but once it does it can live by itself, supported by its rich diversity and interdependency.
When I think about the ways I focus my attention, I’ve already established a few gardens. My library of books. My collection of RSS feeds. My relationships. My actual garden! All of these contribute to a diverse, interconnected space of shared ideas that help me understand and appreciate the world in new ways.