Nixing the News, and Farewell Facebook
Some of the more interesting articles on Matt Cutts's blog is his 30 day self-challenges. He wrote on March 15, 2012 that he decided to cut the news out of his daily routine for 30 days.
In March 2012, I decided to avoid reading, watching, or hearing the news. This was motivated by a TED University talk from TED 2011. The speaker said that he had cut all news out of his daily life. He figured that if something important happened, a friend or taxi driver would mention it to him. The philosophy is simple: lots of news is sensationalized or depressing, you can't do much about it anyway, and it takes up a fair amount of your mental cycles.
I decided to do the same. I started on March 15. Now that it's been a month, I don't think I'm going to go back.
I read a lot of RSS feeds each day. The problem is that most of the news sites I subscribe to are echo chambers. They all repeat each other. Although skipping repeats doesn't take much time, they do add up, especially on Monday. Generally, I don't sit still long enough on the weekend to read newsfeeds on the weekend. On Mondays, it started taking me over 3 hours to read everything. The majority of it was the flavor-of-the-week type of of article which I don't usually care about. So, I culled all my news subscriptions.
I feel a lot more productive. I'm actually doing something with my time rather than reading people's guesses as to what will be in the new Batman movie. Also, anything truly important news usually comes up somewhere in my Twitter feed, so I'm not completely detached from the world's recent events.
I kind of like the idea of a 30-day challenge. So, I already started my next one: Facebook.
I've been intending to close my Facebook account for years. I barely ever use Facebook. When I do, I usually get irritated and close it pretty quickly. I have more people hidden than visible. Facebook "games" and quizzes are like zombies; no matter how many I kill, there are more lurking, waiting to get me when I think I'm finally safe.
My only reason for keeping my account was that Facebook seems to be how everybody shares photos now. I looked in my photo folder and realized that I haven't saved a picture from Facebook in years. I always have my camera with me, so I have my own pictures. With my only reason gone, I don't need Facebook. Good riddance.
In 30 days, I have a feeling I'm not going to go back to this one, either.