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Anonymous

Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment
    #3183151 - 09/26/04 06:12 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

For the last two years I've not once viewed a TV news broadcast, read a newspaper, or read any online mainstream news media. For the last one year I also cut out alternative media from any regular viewing. Effectively, for the past 12 months, any news and events that happened across the world I've heard only from word of mouth, either from people in person or on forums such as the Shroomery. The results so far have been in favor of my mental well-being, so I plan on continuing this for as long as I see positive results. But in order to explain the positive results, let me first explain what's happened to my 'world view.'

Some people might think it's bad idea to avoid the media, and that in doing so I'd become uninformed and ignorant in world affairs. In a way this is true, since many things had happened that I didn't hear about until weeks or sometimes months later. If there were things that took that long to reach me as a topic of conversation, there were undoubtedly countless other things that I haven't heard about at all. Per my original intentions in undergoing this experiment, I created a filter that cut out 'trivial' events and news items. By trivial I mean things that don't directly affect my life. Surely a murder is not trivial to the persons involved. However, the murder of a stranger doesn't impact my life in any way, so I deemed these types of events as distractions. The result is that I learned only about news that people deemed important enough to share in conversation. Interestingly, I would say I've got a handle on what's going on in the world, at least in regard to politics. I'm aware of continued resistance in Iraq against American troops, although I couldn't name any city where a particular battle or attack has recently happened. I'm aware of the four or five most popular candidates for the upcoming US presidential election -- I've read up on the candidates at their web sites but have barely heard any news about them. I know about the recent hurricanes hitting the Caribbean region and Florida, although I didn't hear about two of them until after they hit. Hurricanes are a pretty common thing and considering they're 2000 miles away from me, they're damn close to being in my 'distraction' category. However, they fit into the pattern that I recognized after only a couple months.

There was obviously a pattern in what news I heard about and what I didn't, and how long it took for me to find out. The things I heard about always fit into two groups: 1) an event that affected a large amount of people or 2) an event that was very unusual. Type 1 always spread much faster than type 2. These two types of events had a certain level of novelty that was absorbed into and circulated through the collective conscious, and therefore spread quickly through conversation. The nature of how I received the news also created a second filter. In addition to filtering out common, "unimportant" news stories, I could only interpret the facts as I was given by the person telling me. This potentially left out key parts of an event that were critical in understanding exactly what happened. This led me to inquire other people once I heard something I was particularly interested in. This process reversed the typical method of information gathering. Most people receive news through an active-passive method -- that is, they actively seek out a form of media and then passively absorb the information given from that media (such as sitting and watching a TV news broadcast). On the other hand, I adopted a passive-active method -- I passively absorbed information from conversation and then, if a certain event interested me, I'd actively seek out more about it from other sources.

By the way, here's an interesting tidbit. The most common talked about events I would say fall in this order: 1) weather 2) entertainment/movies 3) world events/politics 4) American events/politics 5) science/technology 6) health/medical. Maybe it's my age group (early 20s) but I found that most people were more concerned with the weather and the latest movies than what's happening politically in the world. This is a little unsettling, but the order of the last four categories isn't too surprising.

So far I mentioned two filters that were set up from this experiment, the event filter and the information filter. The third and last is what I would call the drama filter. We all know that mainstream media and even alternative media often present stories and events in a sensationalist or dramatic way, in order to hold your attention. By avoiding all first-party news sources, I was removed from the emotion and drama which they exhibited and attached to events. This allowed me to think about the news I was hearing in a more objective manner. Often when someone was relating an news story to me, I could see the echo of emotion still attached to the information, and my reaction to an event would be very different than the other person's, because I didn't receive the sensationalist aspect that the news media originally put into the event. This is my presumption here, but people seemed to mimic the emotion that the news sources attached to a story. Either that or that was simply their own reaction to the story. But considering the impact the media has on the average person, I wouldn't be surprised if the first one was true.

Finally, let me sum up the effects this experiment has had on my mind and my psyche. In general my mind feels a lot clearer, and much less cluttered with trivial information that doesn't directly affect my life. I'm fairly knowledgable about major current events without useless details. As I see it, details of events can always be looked up if needed for debate or research. I find myself less and less swayed by popular opinion also. I'm more critical of information now than I was when I watched or read the news every day. Overall the experiment was "successful," since my goal was for a more peaceful mind with less useless information floating around in it.

And if you read this whole thing, thank you! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did relating the experience.


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Offlinefrogger25
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183230 - 09/26/04 06:42 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

that is pretty sweet. i havent watched tv for about a year now, so i know a bit of what you mean but i havent gone quite as all out as you did. i have found i am alot happier when i overcome my desires(such as watching tv, eating meat, or sexual indulgence) then when give in to them. goood luck in continuing your abstinence and pherhaps you can even extend the same concept even further into your life to see what the limits of the clarity you can achieve.


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OfflineTodcasil
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183270 - 09/26/04 06:58 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

comendable.


--------------------
Men look at themselves and they see flawed humans, we look at women and we see perfect
GODDESSES
Women look at themselves and they seem utterly human, when looking at men they see proud
GODS.


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183293 - 09/26/04 07:08 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Any time I've been well-informed on a subject that's reported in the tv news or I've played a role in the news story I'm always apaulled by the reporting. No matter if it's a small local paper or a big international story, I've always found the reporting misleading at best, totally innacurate and void of real information at worst. For example:

Recently 3 or 4 people in my home town thought it would be worthwhile to organize a vietnam draft-dodger conference in 2005, and they made a miniature of a war-style memorial they would like to erect somewhere in honour of the draft-dodgers, claiming these people made a great contribution to the area.

Fox news got ahold of this story and made it into a huge deal, which it really isn't. A frontpage headline on the vancouver sun explained that an american vietnam veteran society has asked George W Bush to put an end to this "tribute to cowardice" (paraphrase).

This is pretty entertaining to me, because there is no movement at all to erect this monument. The mastermind behind the whole thing is this annoying guy who goes around the town's coffee shops with a laptop looking like he's busy. I've talked about him with my friends and there's a consensus that there's something primordially irritating about him, like even if he doesn't say anything to you he has a "clingy" feel. Not the kind of guy people rally behind. In fact, the city has no interest in helping with the monument or having it on their land. His monument is his little "gay" fantasy and there's no interest in his stupid little dream, yet..

The media's blown it totally out of porportion, enough that major veteran organizations are asking the leader of the most powerful nation to put an end to it right now, and Americans are flooding the town with angry emails threatening to boycott tourism, when the only thing happening is one guy with a plan and two or three supporters commisionning an artist to put up a little monument most likely on somebody's private land somewhere.. hilarious and a prime example of why TV news media isn't worth watching. If they can't even portray this pathetic little story accurately at all, makes you wonder about what's really going on overseas.


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183308 - 09/26/04 07:12 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Having bashed TV news, I'll say that magazines and weekly newspapers can play a much better role in providing information. They don't report on snippets that happened "just now." The time it takes for a magazine to come together allows for a gain in perspective on an issue, and because a good news magazine isn't catering to the 5-second attention spans associated with TV-watchers and the people on this website, the articles can be more in-depth and the snippets can be taken by a journalist and connected to the overarching issue.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #3183386 - 09/26/04 07:42 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I like to read The National Enquirer to see who gained weight, who's dying and who's cheating on whom.


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The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183641 - 09/26/04 09:32 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I too, have been in the non-media/TV boat for some time now, and interestingly I've noticed here and there that more other people have are doing the precise same thing, as if it's some sort of trend.
Indeed I have experienced substantially efficacious results mentally, and so on. I read far more than I used to -- and mind you, I've always been quite the bookworm.
Even when I was an incessant TV watcher, I would consciously avoid the news due to it's constantly negative nature. The reason I stopped watching TV altogether, was to rid myself of late-night addictions to programs that would interfere with my sleep schedule which in turn would affect my work schedule.
This was a long time ago.. and today, I can say with complete conviction, that I'll never be the TV-zombie that I was once again. Well except for movies and stuff. Oh wait, Star Trek shows are some exceptions... oh not to mention the WWF and such. Alrighty, gotta go -- Ally McBeal is on.



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Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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InvisibleSimisu
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3183726 - 09/26/04 09:58 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

i never made a point of but i simply stopped watching TV...
i never listen to the news or read newspapers
i never listen to radio
since i left the army i really don't know what's going on around the world unless like you mentioned people talk about it
there were times when a suacide bomber exploded and killed lots of people but i only heared about it a few days later (and israel is a small place so usualy this kind of information is instantenius if you don't avoide it)

i also think it's a kind of trend... many of my friends bearly watch TV or take any intrest in what's "going on" and i'm sure our lives are better for it!

frank zappa - i'm the slime

I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little has changed
I'm the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks . . .
Don't touch that dial

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go


--------------------
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OfflineStinky
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #3183953 - 09/26/04 10:59 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

hahaha, thats funny. When I'm away at college, I might watch TV once a week, but when I go home, I watch it much more... I guess since there isn't really much to do.


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InvisibleMoonshoe
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Stinky]
    #3184030 - 09/26/04 11:20 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

great job man, ive considerd doing this exact same thing

because

A. 99% of news is trivial and doesnt effect me
B. 99% of news is depressing
C. 100% of news is censored, filterd and alterd for the purposes of misleading me in some way or another for the benefit of someone or some group
D. 100% of media is chalk full of bullshit advertising, propagandha and psychic filth
E. Even if news interests me, it never provides me with a means to act or change the situation


Basically i only read the comics, dont watch tv news and try to limit tv intake entirely.


--------------------


Everything I post is fiction. This poster is no longer active.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Moonshoe]
    #3184040 - 09/26/04 11:23 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

99% of news is trivial...

I saw this very same statistic on the news last week...


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The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3184114 - 09/26/04 11:38 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I get my news from the net (www.slashdot.org, cnn.com, aljazeera.net, xinhua.net, and news.google.com) I do NOT watch TV anymore.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3184140 - 09/26/04 11:41 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

TV = crt/LCD image
Computer = crt/LCD image

Broadcast = selected news from reporter spoken by newscaster
Website = selected news from reporter presented as text

I see little difference.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Swami]
    #3184164 - 09/26/04 11:47 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I never said there was. It is only my preference...besides TV news is always several hours behind the net. Computers are more interactive and I like that. My wife likes TV, but I just don't care about it. I am proud that I do not waste my time with useless, unfunny sitcoms anymore.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3184185 - 09/26/04 11:52 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I am proud that I do not waste my time with useless, unfunny sitcoms anymore.

Me too! :smile: I only waste my time with useless, albeit funny, sitcoms.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Swami]
    #3184236 - 09/27/04 12:01 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

When I did watch TV I noticed that none of the sitcoms struck me as funny...but that is just me...


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Swami]
    #3184241 - 09/27/04 12:02 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

When I did watch TV I noticed that none of the sitcoms struck me as funny...but that is just me...I take that back..."The Simpsons" is funny sometimes, but I quit watching that over a year ago.


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InvisibleMoonshoe
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3184306 - 09/27/04 12:16 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

prolly cuz the simpsons stopped being funny about a year ago. That may not be true but i stopped watching when it stopped amusing me. Maybe they made some good episodes in the meanwhile.

Have you watched family guy, aqua teen hunger force, the brak show, sea lab 2021, harvey bridman, south park or home movies?

those are all funny funny shows (not so much home movies but damn)


--------------------


Everything I post is fiction. This poster is no longer active.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: Avoiding the media: the results of a personal experiment [Re: ]
    #3184347 - 09/27/04 12:27 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

the only tv I watch is the news. During the week, I'm busy with working a night job and school. On the weekend, I sleep most of the day and I stay up all night. If I do watch tv, the only that isn't paid programming is cnn, msnbc, and fox.


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