I had an interesting conversation with my friend Monica last night. We talked about information overload and she brought up a term "News Poisoning" which means how you can poison your mind by watching the news.
What do I mean by poisoning your mind? If you watch the news you may be afraid to leave your house because everything from hotel rooms to movie theaters are infested with bedbugs. My Mom (who watches the news nightly) is afraid that if I go to Mexico I'll be kidnapped. I also believe that the Tea Party Movement is caused by News Poisoning.
How much thought do you put into what you allow into your mind? How much are you influenced by what's available in your community? Dave Winer on returning from Sundance commented on the awful state of news in Park City, UT.
I've been a consumer of RSS feeds for a long time. However last year I declared RSS bankruptcy. I've also struggled for a long time knowing that I'm not particularly knowledgeable in world affairs. How do you choose what's important and how do you make sure the information you're getting is accurate? I currently get my news in two ways. First I still use Google Reader, to a much lesser extent than before. I only follow 5 blogs and can easily check my feeds once a day max. Secondly, I've replaced much of what I used to use Google Reader for with my own River of News. This suits me better because there isn't an unlimited backlog of posts and there is no status for what has been read or not. I can just visit that page and see what's new. If I'm busy, I don't feel compelled to check it at all. I might only read that page once a week.
I don't know the answer to this. I realize that I'm not getting a balanced diet of information but I'm not sure I care anymore. It's more important to me to consume less information because at least then I won't feel overloaded. If something really important is going on, I'll hear about it.
What is your strategy for staying informed? Do you watch the evening news?
Published February 11, 2011