When the pandemic began — and even before that when people ran amok and didn’t know what to do — I actively consumed the news. NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Slate. In hindsight, my actions led to high levels of stress and anxiety. I didn’t sleep well and didn’t eat much. I was grieving.
One morning, I stopped everything. No more NPR. No more news channels. No more online journalism. Full stop.
For several days, without consuming any news and after unfollowing anyone on Facebook or Twitter who shared the news, I introduced new behaviors into my life. I started taking daily walks and doing exercise. I resurrected this blog. I made lists of things to do and stuff to buy. I began what’s become a daily routine. Longer sleep and healthier eating returned.
In time, and on my own terms, I gradually reintroduced the news. Every morning, I peruse headlines on the Boston Globe and Washington Post apps. I don’t click to read more. I only look at the headlines. I peruse Twitter throughout the day to see what’s trending. But again, I’m not clicking.
I’m not watching, listening to, or reading any media that I did pre-pandemic. It’s too sensational for me. I don’t need it and I don’t want it. By consuming the news on my schedule I am aware of what matters.
For years, I’ve believed that if something is important enough for me to know then enough people will talk about it and then I’ll learn about it. That’s how things go viral online.
“Viral marketing is a compounding function. A marketer does something and then a consumer tells five or ten people. Then then they tell five or ten people. And it repeats. And grows and grows. Like a virus spreading through a population. The marketer doesn’t have to actually do anything else.”Source: Seth Godin in 2007
Every evening, I see what people are sharing on social media and I click a few headlines to stay aware. This is what the President said. That is what the Governor said. This is what a model is forecasting. That is what a local company is doing.
I’m happy with this routine. It works for me.
Image by GotCredit on Flickr.