A media diet for the bloated reader

 

In The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman goes on about the benefits of time-shifting your news reading:

One excellent way to stay calm but well-informed, I’ve found, is to consume the news a day or three later than everyone else. Print is one way to do this. But it works online, too: more and more, I find myself promiscuously cruising the web, saving umpteen articles in a “read later” app (in my case Evernote, though you could use your browser’s bookmarks). By the time I read them, the time filter has worked its magic: a small proportion of them stand out as truly compelling.

A brand new car loses about 15% of its value as soon as you steer it off the dealership; most news items depreciate a whole lot faster than that. Human brains are hard-wired to hunt for new information on a round-the-clock basis. But not everything we haven’t set eyes on before is worth our attention. As Burkeman argues, a fantastic MO to determine if something is intrinsically compelling or worth our attention apart from its novelty is to lay it aside for some time.

All this is irrational. But the very fact of being stressed by information is irrational. In theory, we could track millions of sources of information, in practice we only do so with a small number, and the choice is quite arbitrary. I try to answer all personal mails, but I do not care to answer all personal messages on Facebook. The stack of books to read on my desk glares at me, but I never feel anxious about anything I could read on the web if I saw it. Why not fight irrationality with irrationality? Worry less about reducing the flow of information. Instead, look for ways to reduce the stress of this influx – and if that means deceiving yourself with “pause” buttons (Inbox Pause), planned delays, and stuff like that until the clickbait effect subsides- what does it matter? In the war against information overload, all weapons are to be used.

I would be proud if I could make you go back months or years into the Quariety archives and still find things worth your attention.

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