Is the 'personal news feed' the problem? Go get startled!

Is the 'personal news feed' the problem? Go get startled!

When did you last run across a story that startled you?

When did you last read something by a writer you don’t subscribe to — just because you liked how it looked?

I can still do that. I still get a newspaper delivered.

As regular readers of these essays will know, I am a longtime follower of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. However, I kept hearing replays of the Cubs’ baseball success on the radio, and I wound up watching the World Series with interest and joy as a result.

I’m a Protestant Christian — specifically, Presbyterian — and thus not affected by the doings of the Roman Catholic Church. Or so I would have thought, until I read in the Chicago Tribune about Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden and his participation with Lutherans at an ecumenical service on Oct. 31, the 499th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. That affected me deeply, and I would not have gotten the details without finding them in the print edition of the Tribune. (Catch up with a commentary on it here if you missed it.)

If I just depended on my Facebook “news feed” or my e-mails — or, gasp, even on Chicago Now! — I would have missed those stories.

Now, I like being able to sort out the stories I want to follow and the writers I want to keep reading. But here’s the thing: I consider that part of my hunt for information. I don’t think of it as being handed all the information I’m going to need.

So there are stories I won’t know about — but there are sources, like CBS radio and TV news, BBC America and France 24 for international perspective, and the Chicago Tribune. I always have time for at least two of those sources in my day… and I get startled by stories. I learn things!

Why is that undersea artwork attached to this piece? Well, because it’s startling, of course!

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.


Filed under: Expressions


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  • I get most of those sources without reading a paper, as they are available on the Internet. However, I discussed, about 6 months ago, in response to some republisher of Breitbart, how one can check the journalistic integrity of those. Also, as I have indicated numerous times on Chicago Now, I'm not giving Zuckerberg any of my identifiable personal information, and have no use for Twitter, and use Google News only as a link to the primary sources. Hence, I have no skin in the current debate on whether the Facebook feed is real news.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you, Jack. Once again, though, you and I are coming at an issue from very different angles. I was using the debate about Facebook to encourage getting your news from multiple and/or varying sources. My use of Facebook is limited, and I consider it more reminder and notes from friends than a news source.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Basically, I don't consider it as anything. Similarly, after playing around with Wikipedia for a while until the thugs pushed me off, I concluded (on AW) that it was somewhere between hearsay and fiction. Those last 2 terms may be pertinent to the subject of your last comment on The Quark.

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