A few weeks ago, I decided to stop checking the news online.
I’d listened to a few podcasts/read a few books talking about how news-checking can get obsessive, and how it wasn’t really that productive. As it was with me. I’d check news websites on the way to work, several times during work, and on the way back home. I’d be constantly refreshing and checking for new articles.
And to what end? I have no idea. The vast majority of articles were click-bait; despite me knowing this, I read them anyway. I liked to convince myself that I was keeping myself informed about current affairs, but then I realised most of them weren’t even relevant. It was just giving me a false sense that I somehow understood the world and what was going on it. The reality was, I was just being fed a stream of articles with no real depth.
For example, a few months ago, the news broke about Barnaby Joyce (an Aussie politician, for my non-Aussie friends)’s affair with his former staffer. I could argue that it was in the national interest — after all, it appeared that he had thrown his weight around, getting her a plum position whilst the affair was going on — but I got up in the details. Did Vikki really make 190K for making 50 Facebook posts?! Why did she break up with her fiance for him?? Did his wife really call her a homewrecking whore?! I must know!
It took up so much of my time.
There was no point in continuously getting outraged and annoyed over some thing some random person had done to someone, somewhere.
So I stopped.
And I feel so much better for it.
I remember someone telling me, years ago, that she didn’t check the news. I thought she was ignorant for wanting to remain uninformed. I thought she was one of those clueless types who somehow got it into her head that she knew better. That the news was part of some massive conspiracy theory and couldn’t be trusted.
Well, now I’m following her lead.
I still catch up on the news though… I’ve gotten rid of my daily news podcast and have instead subscribed to BBC’s The World This Week. (It’s amazing at what kind of news actually makes it on there.)
I’m subscribed to newsletters, which give me in-depth stories and meaningful articles about things I’m interested in. That way I can get real content on stuff that matters to me, and not the fluffy, superficial lifestyle listicles that appear on most news websites.
If there’s a physical paper nearby (rare, but it happens!) I might pick it up and read it. I might turn the TV on the news is running. And if there’s something that’s really important – someone will usually tell me.
Related: I no longer browse through comments sections either. Hah!
The only downside I’ve noticed is that it’s gotten me to check social media more. Specifically, Instagram. I used to only browse every time I posted. But lacking something to give me that “quick fix”, I started checking it a bit more often. Must keep it in check!