In 2017, I’m going to stop watching the news

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Mattias Geniar, December 31, 2016

Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar

I've stopped watching the news a few months ago and it's definitely a trend I'm planning to continue in 2017.

We live in a world of information. Open Facebook and you see dozens of articles about topics your friends are interested in. Open Twitter and you’ll see yet another death of a celebrity. Open a news app and you’ll read about plain crashes, terrorist threats, immigration, warzones and Syria.

Ask yourself a simple question though: what can you do about that?

Absolutely nothing.

Stop reading the news

A few months ago I removed all news apps from my phone, which was my primary source of mainstream news. Those are the kind of apps that want you to read every article by making headlines look as scary or unbelievable as possible.

But you really don’t need an app to tell you that;

  • There are still refugees on the run from Syria and Libya
  • There are going to be terrorist attacks all over the world, taking hundreds of lives
  • Trump is going to be president in 2017
  • Some celebrity is going through some kind of scandal

You can fairly accurately predict what the news of next week is going to be. Or better yet: you can predict what news outlets are going to cover next week.

Be an ostridge ostrich

Bury your head in the sand.

Having nothing but bad news thrown at you every single day isn’t going to make you happier if you can’t do anything about it.

You know what makes you happier in life? Making things better, make someone else happy, do the things you love and care about.

I’d much rather read about local initiatives helping people, where my actions or donations can actually make a difference.

Sure, I can donate 50$ of tax-deductible money to the Red Cross to help them, but what’s my 50$ going to do? It’s not going to make a meaningful difference (1) and won’t make me feel any better.

News about the things you care about

I love technology, innovation, gadgets, open source, Linux, … and all things nerdy. Heck, I even devoted a weekly newsletter to it.

So to satisfy my hunger for information I’ll still read Hacker News, the /r/linux and /r/programming subreddits and a handful of other websites.

But I choose what kind of news I want to see. And mainstream media isn’t going to be on that list.

(1) I know what you’re thinking: what if everyone stops donating? I’m not saying to stop donating, just focus on charities or help where your efforts make a meaningful difference. Not 0.000001% of the donations.

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