November 5, 2023
What happened to you, newsonaut?
This blog started out as a way of keeping on top of technology as it is applied to the news.
But I've noticed, lately, that several of my posts advocate avoiding the news — strange advice from someone calling himself newsonaut.
So what happened to me?
When I was laid off 10 years from a newspaper, it was almost impossible to find another job in journalism. I didn't want to move, and local opportunities were almost non-existent.
So I went on to get a job in web design, which, luckily, was another passion of mine. Still, I remained tuned into the news with apps, RSS, social media, whatever.
I noticed, though, that this made me a bit of an outlier. It was almost impossible to have a discussion with my colleagues about something that happened in the news because they had zero awareness and zero interest.
That is their right, and who am I to judge?
In recent years, though, I'm coming around to their way of thinking. My awareness and interest will never be zero, but I do see the merit in tempering them.
There are a lot of bad things happening in the world, and I can't do anything about them. So why dwell on them?
I've talked about news-cations, where I completely avoid the news for awhile, but what might be better would be a sensible diet. Here's what I'm thinking:
The great thing about RSS feeds is that they present the news in reverse chronological order, with each item getting the same presentation. You decide for yourself which is more important, which is worthy of your attention, which is something you'd rather not think about right now.
News apps present the news similar to the way newspapers did. You can tell by the layout which they consider to be the most important.
Something similar happens with social media. Facebook and Xitter prioritize what is most likely to engage you. This means attention-grabbing headlines that you might not ordinarily have sought out.
I feel a little embarrassed about recommending Reddit because I don't think much of their leadership. Even so, it has a big advantage over other social media in that you can choose to follow topics.
That means you can limit your exposure to, for example, the hobbies you enjoy. You could choose to follow funny, uplifting or wholesome news. You'll still get some perspective on what's happening in the world but with a more positive spin.
Specialty forums and news sites
I like to visit Hacker News to see what technology and nerdery they're talking about. I would never have discovered many of the articles they link to on my own. The discussion is usually intelligent and worth reading.
Techmeme is a great resource for links to technology news. I especially appreciate the fact that they re-write the click-bait headlines into an accurate summary of the article.
There are sites like this for every interest you can imagine. Take charge, and pick your own.