Sunday, November 29, 2020

Seeing the forest instead of just the trees. Stop watching cable news and read a book.

The same is true of social media. What starts as a couple of bullies spewing hate speech at a distance gets pushed by algorithms to the top of our Facebook and Twitter feeds. It’s by tapping into our negativity bias that these digital platforms make their money, turning higher profits the worse people behave. Because bad behaviour grabs our attention, it’s what generates the most clicks, and where we click the advertising dollars follow.17 This has turned social media into systems that amplify our worst qualities.


Bregman, Rutger. Humankind (p. 392). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition. 


My rule of thumb? I have several: steer clear of television news and push notifications and instead read a more nuanced Sunday paper and in-depth feature writing, whether online or off. Disengage from your screen and meet real people in the flesh. Think as carefully about what information you feed your mind as you do about the food you feed your body.


Bregman, Rutger. Humankind (p. 392). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition. 


The old journalistic slogan is “If it bleeds. It leads.” Johnny Winter’s great song, “Bad news travels like wildfire. Good news travels slow.” We are like the audiences at WWE wrestling evens or the crowds in the gladiator shows in the Roman Colosseum. Who doesn’t rubber neck at the scene of a crash?


The amygdala gets fired up at the first whiff of a threat and it's as if we can’t help ourselves. The prefrontal cortex, reason, was a later development in brain functioning. It takes training to make it master instead of the amygdala. What runs your life: your amygdala or your prefrontal cortex?

To engage the prefrontal cortex, the person must back off, stand down, get the situation into perspective by taking emotional distance. This is what Slow News attempts to do - pull back from the immediate to see the forest instead of just the trees.

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