This is part 2 in a series of articles, where I go on a, for the lack of a better phrase, news detox. Part 1 is here.
Online news sites:
By reach of hands, how many of you can honestly say that you became inspired or learned anything from when you checked Instagram or Facebook today?
We all know them, in Sweden we have many sites that report news where the content many times can be dubious, like Aftonbladet and Expressen. But i think you all know the concept no matter your location, ad infested propaganda sites that are the first resource people head to when something sensational has happened. Start of the day, might as well visit Aftonbladet, much of the same kick, or should I say fix, that Facebook can provide.
Most of us know the process I think, you scroll through the feed (even that word says a lot), without ever really getting anything out of it. Or maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it? I do think some get something out of it, a sensation of high, a feeling of well-being. But, by reach of hands, how many of you can honestly say that you became inspired or learned anything from when you checked Instagram or Facebook today? My guess, not many hands went up.
The thought, or should I say worry has been in my mind for a while now; How much of the news we consume, do we consume for pure entertainment?
The news sites and many of the online social media resources feed peoples need to….feed on misery. Can you even say that? I don’t know, but it many times feels like a quick fix to a bigger problem that needs a more long term fix. Could it be that they are gossip tabloids first and foremost, information resources second or even third?
The thought, or should I say worry that has been in my mind for a while now is – How much of the news we consume, do we consume for pure entertainment? How much of the pain and suffering of others is there for us to fill our daily feed with news as entertainment? I am not saying it is so, but many times I get the feeling that is what is going on. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be extremely helpful in assisting with many of this worlds issues.
While researching if I was alone in this I stumbled upon this article, which I highly recommend you read. It does confirm many of my own feelings toward the media climate today.
I feel more educated and inspired than ever before.
I haven’t seen the front page of any of the mentioned Swedish news sites (that is a white lie, had to check Aftonbladet to link to it in this article; that is after I clicked through the advert promising I could loose 16kgs in a very short time and a testimonial from a large woman who had used it, and she said it actually worked, amazing) in a while and I feel I haven’t missed out on anything, quite the opposite, I feel more educated and inspired than ever before.
Nowadays, since I started my one year detox from the easy ways to get news I tend to do my own research, if there is an ongoing issue or an historical event I feel I need to know more about I try to be more investigative in my approach. I try to get a broader picture and create my own opinion or perspective on things instead of adopting someone else’s. I find that I get better at it as I go along, it feeds my own interest in a sense.
A side note is that the Facebook app is removed from the phone. Even though I mostly use Facebook to follow subjects and resources I’m interested in, very much more so than personal relations. However, this article will be posted there. I still use it, I’ve just made it less convenient.
Offline news resources:
Got rid of these way earlier, no-to-commercials-on-your-post-box and all that. There are two major reasons for it; the content, or should I say lack thereof, in these newspapers and a huge reason is also environmental. I am baffled at what they plow down into these things, paper, chemicals and most of it is for the sole purpose of enabling us to get a discount that will help us to consume more. Forget it. I guess the most prominent ones these days are the ones you get for free at the metro, I’m not gonna get started on those, my rant has been going on for long enough (I’m trying to cut down on the length of these posts, but I like writing ;).
What I do instead of using most of the standard online and offline news sites:
I investigate much more than before. When it comes to news I try to find out the reason behind certain world events, educate myself, speak to people I know from the area or just generally speak to people I think can offer an educated opinion on the matter. I would be lying if I said it was easy trying to understand anything that involves war and brutal murder, to somehow choose a side, but many times that might not be what is needed either.
Some of my most frequently visited news resources a k a your guide to inspiration and many well educated opinions:
- Aeon – The most recent article / video I saw (they repost quite some things, but some good original articles in there as well).
- Brainpickings – Found quite a few interesting books through this one.
- Farnam Street – Good lengthy articles
- Intelligent Life Magazine – A great mix of articles
- Longform – Long reads…don’t have time? Save them to Pocket!
- Maptia – Like travelling? This is it! (Lapland is featured in a recent article)
- Ozy – Touches more on the normal news stories, political and financial. Good newsletter as well.
- Quartz – Many financial articles.
Beside reading I listen to podcast on subjects that both interest me and subjects that have never interested me before. Here you can just have a look at my recent article of my top 5 podcasts.
Any suggestions on what to read out there? Throw me some comments in the comments section or on Twitter!