Author Topic: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey  (Read 3302 times)

El_Viajero

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Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« on: June 08, 2017, 05:01:07 AM »
Many of us have probably been glued to the news as of late due to Trump/Russia/travel ban/healthcare/alternative facts/etc. For my part, I have a hard time avoiding various websites and Twitter accounts. It's getting to be untenable. For the most part, this stuff is outside my circle of control. I know I'm a citizen of a republic and I have a voice, etc. etc., but I can't change the stuff that bothers me the most, at least not right away. Knowing every little detail of every news development every single day is exhausting and takes time away from other things, limits my daily accomplishments, and so forth.

So, here's what I'm thinking:

Step 1: Ditch all subscriptions I pay for. I currently subscribe to the print Economist (for the "thoughtful conservative," free marketer viewpoint) and the New Yorker (for the liberal, secular humanist viewpoint). Unsubscribing will fatten my wallet and keep these info sources out of my immediate vicinity. Double win.

Step 2: Block various websites and Twitter accounts that occupy too much of my attention.

Step 3: Set aside a couple of hours each week to visit the local library and read the latest Economist, New Yorker, and perhaps Sunday NYT paper. They have these in my local library's reading room.

That's it! I already don't have TV, so I'm not keeping CNN on in the background or anything like that.

Starting next week, I'm going to challenge myself to follow this process for a solid month. Hopefully, it will be a success and I'll keep it up. Who's with me?

talltexan

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 07:02:24 AM »
Smart Phone use (perhaps you don't have a smart phone) is a big part of this. I switched my facebook/twitter to only work on wifi, which means I cannot simply load them when I'm waiting in line somewhere in public. It's really nice.

El_Viajero

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 08:23:23 AM »
Smart Phone use (perhaps you don't have a smart phone) is a big part of this. I switched my facebook/twitter to only work on wifi, which means I cannot simply load them when I'm waiting in line somewhere in public. It's really nice.

Totally. I'm going to install the site blocking apps on my smartphone as well. That's part of the plan.

grenzbegriff

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 04:37:30 PM »
I did this since March 1st.  I had been overly addicted to political information since the election. 

My rules were:
- only up to 30 min on computer per day, other than for work
- no reading news / opinions / commentary / anything recent online including all social media and online discussions
- blocked the media / social media websites I had been frequenting, just to remind me what I'm doing
- no reading anything on my phone, other than texts (which are rare)
- no TV or movies (I had already been doing this for over a year)

I still allowed myself to read informative articles that were years old, or books.

This has been great.  I stuck with it rigorously till at least the beginning of May -- have started to slack a little since then, but I'm feeling the urge to go back to rigid rules again.  I haven't got sucked into politics again, but have been looking at other things like this forum for example.

As I'm already orienting my entire life to be the change I want to see in the world, I didn't feel the need to know all the details of the latest scandal that the media wanted us to hear.  As far as I can tell, the media has not told us anything in the last 3 months that really demands a change of course for me.  :/

During this time I had a lot of free time to ponder life, which has led to me being about to leave my job and apartment and let go of a lot of other stuff.  And I'm feeling very much at peace about it.

So yes, I encourage everyone, reduce media consumption in all forms!

Dave1442397

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 05:06:26 PM »
I use Social Fixer for Facebook to block all political posts.

I haven't watched the news since moving to the US in 1990. I feel like my brain cells are dying whenever I'm subjected to newscaster voice-of-doom.

We get the Sunday paper, and that's it. I skim a lot of that, too. I used to read The Economist, but got out of the habit. I figure if anything really important happens, someone will tell me about it.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 12:46:28 AM »
Yeah, I really want to do this, but everytime I am about the pull the plug, something big happens.

Terrorist attack last week, at the station I commute to everyday; I had to get more details...

Political turmoil, now we have a hung parliament, I want to know what is happening.

I think I'll try and curtail my browsing to lunch times @ work only, and to to limit spending any of my free time browsing the news...

ozmickey

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 01:56:56 AM »
I am with you.

I found out that it is so easy to sit online and worry about issues that I can't control.

In the last couple of months -

Went through my Bookmarks and deleted the news websites.

Unfollowed some people on my Facebook account. (got tired of their political rants, family so didn't delete them)

Limited my time online.

I am so much happier and more productive!


lizzzi

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 05:13:07 AM »
Yeah, I've made a conscious decision to check the morning headlines on a few news sites, and then just get on with my own real life. You can drive yourself crazy and waste so much time on what is happening in the world today. I try hard to focus more on writing, drawing, music practice, spending time with my dog and the neighbors...a more centered, tactile, unplugged life. One of my friends used to call it "limiting external stimuli."

talltexan

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 12:30:04 PM »
A fairly reasonable decision rule on facebook is to unfollow people who link to articles.

You have other trusted ways of getting those articles, and that clears the way for marriages, babies, and beautiful thoughts about life.

BlueHouse

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2017, 01:06:15 PM »
Yeah, I really want to do this, but everytime I am about the pull the plug, something big happens.

Terrorist attack last week, at the station I commute to everyday; I had to get more details...

Political turmoil, now we have a hung parliament, I want to know what is happening.

I think I'll try and curtail my browsing to lunch times @ work only, and to to limit spending any of my free time browsing the news...

I had this fairly under control by waiting until Thursdays to get my print edition of the Economist and Sunday mornings to watch MTP.  Then I went to a panel discussion at the National Archives on Ethics in Journalism.  Three of the four panelists said their first news source of the day was ...twitter.  So i started following a few of my favorite writers on Twitter and I am out of control on it. 
Need to go on the low info diet again.

Rosy

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 02:55:48 PM »
This is not a time in history that I want to go on a low information diet, but I can see containing the flood of information.
I want to know what's going on, so CNN and BBC and NPR are part of my world at present, not to mention the occasional jog over to Fox News and a couple of my favorite political TV hosts. Then I look at overseas news reports and TV stations to see what they say, that may not be talked about on American TV.
That always puts another spin on the situation as well. Amazing how one incident can be seen from so many different perspectives.

  I do manage to stick with about two hours plus. But, confession - I had to watch every minute of Comey, this is ... well, you know.
Those Euro elections have become a matter of interest as well, we'll see if Angela can hold on in Germany's next election. I forgot how different the UK is set up - a hung parliament, fascinating what a mess this may cause for Brexit. 

I get little Washington Post pop ups and I may go to the library for the NYT next - so all in all, my time went up from 30 minutes every couple of days to daily news consumption at an unprecedented rate.

Twitter - almost never. FB - I simply ignore all political posts, it's a free country and sometimes regrettably:) free speech.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 03:04:31 PM by Rosy »

El_Viajero

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2017, 07:32:14 AM »
So today is my day to begin. It's 9:30 AM, and I haven't looked at any news yet. I've blocked a bunch of sites on my browser and will probably do the same on my phone here in a bit. I'm also going to call the Economist later and cancel my subscription. I might not be canceling the New Yorker subscription because my wife likes that one, too. In any case, the New Yorker only comes every week or two weeks, so it's not constantly in my face.

Deep breath. Here goes.

BlueHouse

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2017, 08:19:14 AM »
So today is my day to begin. It's 9:30 AM, and I haven't looked at any news yet. I've blocked a bunch of sites on my browser and will probably do the same on my phone here in a bit. I'm also going to call the Economist later and cancel my subscription. I might not be canceling the New Yorker subscription because my wife likes that one, too. In any case, the New Yorker only comes every week or two weeks, so it's not constantly in my face.

Deep breath. Here goes.

60 minutes last night had a former Google PM on who described how the news sites and apps we use are designed to get us addicted to views, likes, shares, retweets, etc.  Basically that every time we check email or any other source of information, we are rewarded with a prize.  Very timely.  I think this might have been a repeat because I vaguely remember that same story from a few months ago.  But I was too busy checking to see if there were any new tweets. 

MandalayVA

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2017, 08:34:08 AM »
Since I hate TV news I have digital subscriptions to the New York Times and the Orlando Sentinel--I gave up the Richmond Times-Dispatch because A) I'm moving and B) the Times-Dispatch isn't that good.  Those and the ESPN website cover my news needs, and more often than not a scan of the headlines is sufficient, particularly since these days the NYT is all OMG TRUMP all the time and the Sentinel is OMG PULSE ANNIVERSARY all the time.  Facebook and Twitter are for keeping up with people, not news.

El_Viajero

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2017, 12:51:18 PM »
I think this might have been a repeat because I vaguely remember that same story from a few months ago.  But I was too busy checking to see if there were any new tweets.

Hilarious. I know the feeling.

Facebook and Twitter are for keeping up with people, not news.

Yeah, pretty much. I also sorta kinda use Twitter professionally to tweet industry-related stuff. Not super regularly, but I'm still on it. No news or politics, though. Not anymore.

Regarding Facebook, I kicked that pesky habit awhile ago. No regrets. My wife still has it, but she doesn't use it much, and we've never put pictures of our kid on there.

talltexan

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2017, 01:54:53 PM »
God, if I could combine down to one Facebook account for my and me I'd do it. But I have used Facebook for my login to a lot of other websites, so...

El_Viajero

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Re: Join Me On This "Low Information" Journey
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2017, 03:04:17 PM »
God, if I could combine down to one Facebook account for my and me I'd do it. But I have used Facebook for my login to a lot of other websites, so...

I recommend a product called 1Password. Others like LastPass. I've used both and prefer the former.

It wouldn't be a big deal to quit Facebook. You can just click "Forgot Password" every time you come across a site for which you used to use Facebook to log in. Then add the new un/pw credentials to 1Password and forget about it.

Also: I made it to 5:00 today without once reading any news of the day.