As we are inundated with content from every direction, it’s so important to be thinking about the source of that content. Last year, in the lead up to election day, my wife and I had several discussions about being critical consumers of news. Not just reading and regurgitating, but thinking critically about what we’ve read, where it comes from, what else they publish and most of all the veracity of what they say.
This is still true. More so now than ever. And part of that solution is to stop only getting our news from walled gardens and algorithm controlled news feeds. Relying on Facebook’s judgement of what you should see, who you happen to see in a promoted post on Twitter, or what the trending topics/accounts are on Instagram is a recipe for being mislead and getting a silo’d view of the world.1
So in addition to reading content with a critical eye, it’s time for us to be our own content curator.
“As for why you should do it: It’s definitely not simple, nor insignificant. By choosing to be a reader of websites whose voices and ideas you’re fundamentally interested in and care about, you’re taking control. And by doing that, you’ll chip away at the incentive publishers have to create headlines and stories weaponized for the purpose of sharing on social media. You’ll be stripping away at the motivation for websites everywhere (including this one) to make dumb hollow mindgarbage. At the same time, you’ll increase the incentive for these websites to be (if nothing else) more consistent and less desperate for your attention.”
Rather than reading just what’s been put in front of you by Facebook, Instagram and those you follow on Twitter, be your own content curator. Find people you trust, news outlets who have proven themselves to be dedicated to truth, and organizations that inspire discussion and collaboration rather than vilification and isolationism.
This is one of the many reasons I still use a third-party twitter client (Tweetbot) to read so that I still get a chronological feed rather than Twitter determining what content I see and in what order. ↩
Forewarning, there is some NSFW language in the article. ↩
I do have to acknowledge the irony of Mashable publishing an article encouraging everyone to skip out on getting your content from Facebook. I remember a time when 3 out of 5 items in my news feed were from Mashable. ↩