Going "low information"

In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, Republicans are taking the opportunity to scold progressives about living in an echo chamber and failing to take a moment to sample thought patterns of the Right.

Well I did, but I came to the conclusion that most is still complete rubbish. In fact, according to Sturgeon’s Law, 90% of everything is crap. So don’t take it personally.

There are two problems with echo chambers. First they are chambers. Big walled-off areas that make it hard to hear the echoes from the adjacent chambers. To come to my own defence, I’ve peeked into the streams of my conservative friends. Sorry, you’re all great, but I don’t like what I see. One step beyond my immediate friends, I see rudeness, crudeness, profanity and little thoughtful analysis. Make a logical argument, bring evidence and I’ll listen. But “Lock that bitch up!”? What am I to do with that? Of course, the progressives have their own versions of the echo. But then there are the echoes themselves.

It’s the echoes that are bothering me mostly now.

The echoes have become a cacophony. Thoughts colliding against the walls, amplifying and distorting one another. It’s exhausting and anxiety provoking.

I’m trying something new. I’m dipping into the information stream on a need-to-know basis. Someone asks my opinion about the election of the U.S. president once every four years. And they ask about legislators on their own cycles. So I’ll check back on U.S. politics then. Seriously. Who is Trump going to pick for his Cabinet? Who will he nominate for the Supreme Court? I’m sure it’s all very fascinating. But I can’t do anything about it. And neither can you. Posting it on your FB feed. Liking this, liking that. It’s nothing. I’ll dip back into politics when I’m asked to vote. Otherwise what’s the point. Being informed? Being informed so that you can do what, exactly? So you participate in the Internet outrage du jour? FOMO?

Here’s my program:

  • I’m taking a week off all news and social media. Pushing the reset button.
  • I’ve deleted FB and Twitter from my phone. I’m not going anywhere. I haven’t resigned in protest. It’s just not helping me make better decisions.
  • I’ve deleted all bookmarks to news sites.
  • After a week, I’ll check back with FB. But my resolutions are:
    1. To spend no more that 10 minutes a day looking at FB.
    2. To log in to FB no more than once a day.
    3. To post something no more than once a week. Probably pictures of dogs, children, that sort of thing.
    4. To not post, like, or otherwise react to items of a political nature. Just to be clear, I still think Donald Trump is a neurotic pussy-grabbing clown, but now that you know that, we’re good.
  • For news sites, I’ll check back when I need to act on something and when I need more information in order to act. It’s all very interesting but I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.

I’m calling it goal-oriented news gathering.