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News Politics & Society

Tuning out the news

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In today’s age, unfollowing the news will give you a peace of mind. News entertains, it dances with sensationalism and highlights disappointing stories. ‘As it turns out, your hobby of monitoring the “state of the world” did not actually affect the world,’ blogs David Cain in his piece ‘Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News.’

The news is candy for the mind. There’s little currency in meta-truth and more credibility in depth. Books will always be more dependable than the news. The future is apt to repeat the past because people never learned the history taught in books in the first place.

‘If we only care about the breadth of information, and not the depth, there’s not much distinction between “staying informed” and staying misinformed.’

People substitute care with attention, thinking that knowing the latest news on Aleppo shows genuine concern. Their opinions on the issue tip-toe around ideal resolutions without doing anything about it.

‘The sense of “at least I care” may actually prevent us from doing something concrete to help, because by watching sympathetically we don’t quite have to confront the reality that we’re doing absolutely nothing about it.’

It doesn’t matter how well-informed you are because you won’t do anything to ameliorate the situation. You don’t need more news to fill your echo chamber of partisanship; you need to listen with intent.

It’s not even worth consuming the news at all. While that may sound callous, to “remain uninvolved without feeling uninvolved,” can bring focus to the things where you can actually make a difference.

Categories
News Social Media

Forget what you heard

For many people, Facebook is their sole newspaper. One of the primary roles of a newspaper is to validate events rather than spread false rumors.

But fake news runs rampant on the platform because anyone can post it without consequence. Facebook does nothing to validate sources, especially since it fired its human curators and replaced them with an algorithm that amplifies noise, true or false. Twitter is equally culpable.

Should we believe anything on social media platforms? Probably not. But the press isn’t exactly trustworthy either. It also has an agenda, that which revolves around whichever drives the most site traffic and clicks.

Misinformation and lies are at the root of chaos. Even the smartest people can often be the most gullible, duped by comedians faking death.

If marketers are liars and social media is edited real life, people must also interpret the news with a grain of salt. Doubt everything.

Categories
Productivity & Work Social Media

One too many chips

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Continuous partial attention makes it too easy to snack. Instead of waiting for the main meal, we fritter our hunger away on too many chips and salsa. We’re full before the entree.

Replace chips with social media, and you start to see the excess wear and tear we put on our bodies and minds. We can’t possibly consume all this information and still devour the main meal. It’s like eating all the popcorn before the movie starts.

Unless we plan on taking the food home with us or putting on some extra weight, we better slow down and refocus our attention on why we decided to eat out in the first place.

If you’re going to snack, do it in moderation, so you still have plenty of room left over to absorb the good stuff.

Categories
Arts Creativity

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?

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There’s a consumption period where you read books and articles or impulse-check Instagram or Twitter. Then there’s a thinking process where you take what you ingested and connect things (ideas, concepts, quotes, images, etc.after) to each other.

The doing is the hardest, which is why most people give up after the thinking part. Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

The attempt to sell our output makes marketing the hardest. If you invent something comparable to the airplane or an online bookstore, be prepared to be misunderstood for a long time.

Not all consumers want to become artists and producers. In fact, the majority of people just want to look and move on. But if you stop once in a while, think about what you learned, you’d be surprised at what you have to contribute.

Categories
News Social Media Tech

News makes your brain fat

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via Peekasso

News can be toxic. When consumed in excess, it can make your mind fat like eating fast food. You need to leave space in your brain for thinking, which means you need to reduce cognitive load. Writer and author Rolf Dobelli has spent the last four years ignoring the news.

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.

If you have a tendency to succumb to the inundation of cheap headlines, consider spending your time consuming slow media instead. Read a book, listen to an entire album — concentrate on the whole rather than snacking on the parts. The news wants to interrupt you and impede comprehension.

In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

Part of people’s fascination with the news is to confirm their own partisanship — Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch MSNBC. To quote Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

As someone who scans the feeds to pluck interesting things–Twitter, RSS, Facebook, you name it — I see a lot of noise and very little signal. Breaking news is broken news; it clouds the brain with unnecessary knowing and anxiety, made worse by the fact that there’s nothing you can do to influence it.

So slow down. Take three deep breaths and reconsider the urge to know, especially when the news causes you to know less. No news is good news.

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Uncategorized

The Medium

The medium is how something works, how content gets transported, shared, and distributed. The Internet is a medium. Newspapers are a medium. TV, radio, and books are also mediums.

A medium is any platform that connects people together to help facilitate conversation. The medium is the fulcrum for storytelling. But some mediums are more powerful than others. Twitter excels at spreading and goading new movements. That’s why governments are so quick to shut it down. China finds Instagram an equal threat.

The medium is the message. – Marshall Mckihan.

Content is king. But the medium is its BFF.