Thursday, January 26, 2017

Take a breath

Alan Jacobs has decided to (paraphrasing) stay off Twitter, cut back on the news sites in his RSS feed, and delete bookmarks to newspapers.
...[T]hanks to a series of well-known technological changes, the news cycle has grown shorter and shorter until now many people get their news minute-by-minute.

...[T]he Twitter-cycle is far, far too short. People regularly get freaked out by stories than turn out to be false, and by the time the facts are known a good deal of damage (not least to personal relationships) has often already been done — plus, the disappearance of the cause of an emotion doesn’t automatically eliminate the emotion itself. In fact, it often leaves that emotion in search of new justifications for its existence.

I have come to believe that it is impossible for anyone who is regularly on social media to have a balanced and accurate understanding of what is happening in the world. To follow a minute-by-minute cycle of news is to be constantly threatened by illusion. ....