The Death of a Newsfeed

Of course, the most reasonable thing to do is to delete anybody who uses the word resistance (or even worse, Resistance) from my newsfeed. But save for Inc.com and the Lovers of Australian Literature blog, that’s the entirety of my enormous newsfeed. It took me years to compose it. And I used to enjoy scrolling through it while having my morning coffee. The newsfeed had geeky people, funny people, brilliant people, policy-wonk people, activist people, ultra-smart couch potato people, academics, gamers, journalists, bloggers, feminists, anarchists, libertarians, reformist Muslims, etc. It was a multitude of fascinating voices that told beautifully different stories about the world.

And now all that is gone. The newsfeed has become downright robotic. Everybody is saying exactly the same thing in exactly the same voice. And the thing they are saying is very dumb.

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16 thoughts on “The Death of a Newsfeed”

  1. I confess I do not get this. Resistance is a cornerstone of democracy, and the way it is playing out now is likely to lead to large electoral changes this fall. Buzzwords do appear in social upheavals. Fifty years ago, we used the term “the Movement” as an umbrella term for the anti Vietnam War movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women’s Liberation movement. The Movement did not accomplish as much as we hoped, but it did accomplish quite a bit, such as ending the war.

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    1. This! This is precisely what bugs me. People seem honestly not to see a difference between the Civil Rights movement and the current silly moaning on social media about “Resistance.” The sheer magnitude of the issues addressed by the Civil Rights movement should make this analogy completely impossible. Yet people don’t seem to get it.

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      1. The Civil Rights Movement was easily the most significant domestic issue of 20th century US politics. Other movements (womens, gay rights, chicano rights, ant-war) mostly piggy backed off of their efforts and the tools they developed. It was broad-based grass roots and it was a grueling high stakes process during which many suffered violence and some lost their lives.

        The current obsessions that lumped into “resistance” almost seem trivial (especially since hashtags and aimless pointless public gatherings seem to be the beginning and end of anything they want or are able to do…)

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        1. La Résistance was also a term used by the folks who resisted Nazis in France. Appropriating it for something as trivial ad the goal of electing a Dem majority in Congress – which comes up every other political cycle – is quite bizarre. I’m as appalled by it as I am by the overuse of the word fascism.

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        2. The Civil Rights Movement was easily the most significant domestic issue of 20th century US politics.

          Perhaps it was the most significant, but the early twentieth century labor union movement was of comparable importance and effect.

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      2. Not at all, I think. Getting a Democratic majority in Congress would mean that there would be some hope of making the Supreme Court once again a reliable protector of civil rights and civil liberties. It would also mean that the most dangerous President in my lifetime (the first President I remember was Harry Truman) could perhaps be prevented from destroying our country’s republic, and becoming a strong-man dictator for life, which seems to be his goal. The second most dangerous, Richard Nixon, pales in comparison.

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      1. Otto’s right that youtube has become a major political forum, but I don’t think anybody watches the videos (I certainly don’t) I listen to them while doing other stuff.

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        1. I find that my thoughts are so much more interesting than these videos that I just get completely distracted and stop following what’s being said at all.

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          1. “I find that my thoughts are so much more interesting than these videos ”

            I can multi-task, be listening to a video, working on something else and still have my thoughts going on…

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          2. I get the “carried away by a divergent train of thought” thing too, but that happens with most anything, conversations and books included. Same as in those cases, you have fairly hefty control over how you’re getting that information in – you can pause, rewind, or even speed up a video as needed.

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            1. I’m fairly unusual in how I process information. I experience watching movies as almost torture because all I want to do is tune out. Even Netflix TV is hard because I need my commercial breaks. Many times, we watch a whole episode and at the end I have absolutely no idea what took place.

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  2. The newsfeed had geeky people, funny people, brilliant people, policy-wonk people, activist people, ultra-smart couch potato people, academics, gamers, journalists, bloggers, feminists, anarchists, libertarians, reformist Muslims, etc. It was a multitude of fascinating voices that told beautifully different stories about the world.

    And now all that is gone. The newsfeed has become downright robotic. Everybody is saying exactly the same thing in exactly the same voice. And the thing they are saying is very dumb.

    You might want to ask yourself why.

    With my cities project, the reason was obvious: federal budget problems rolled downhill from the state to the city.

    I don’t read the same sources I read two, four or ten years ago and the same sources haven’t stayed the same either. It happens.

    So, find new voices for your newsfeed. Develop a new hobby so you can consume the minutiae associated with it. Camping and fishing are interesting. Yes, I know it’s not “intellectual” but you should be purposeful in the “silliness” you consume.

    I have mainly checked out of the news or reacting to it and it has nothing to do with the election and everything to do with my own life. Every day is silly season in the news. To expect serious reactions to absurdity is…absurd. I refuse.

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  3. Yup everyone is just hysterical. Nothing to see here folks.

    Michigan House bill would mark driver’s licenses for immigrants, raising fears of profiling

    A pair of House bills proposed last month by Republicans, state Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, and state Rep. Beth Griffin, R-Mattawan, call for the driver’s licenses of noncitizens to state when the legal status of the license holder expires and also to be “visually marked,” indicating they are different from regular licenses.

    The bills, which deal with both driver’s licenses and state identification cards, are now being considered by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A committee hearing is planned for Tuesday.

    “I expect them to not have a great deal of resistance in committee and come out fairly quickly once we can get the hearing process over,” said Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, chair of the committee considering the bills.

    Cole, who supports the bills, said the requirements can help prevent undocumented immigrants from having driver’s licenses after their legal status expires.

    But some immigrants, who are already anxious over the toughening of immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump, are concerned about the bill.

    In a letter sent to Cole, an attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Anna Hill, said the legislation was redundant since the Secretary of State already issues the license for only as long as a person’s immigration status.

    Moreover, Hill said, the bills would lead to profiling of legal immigrants.

    “Any designation that an individual is a noncitizen or reference to a person’s legal presence, is bound to lead to discrimination, raise the potential for racial profiling, and harm public safety,” Hill wrote. “This type of marking on state licenses and identifications would send a message that certain Michigan residents have second-class status that could lead landlords, banks and other businesses, as well as a wide range of public services providers, to treat noncitizen residents differently.”

    Oh, and Flint still has lead pipes and the state has stopped funding free water bottles. and the residents are still being charged for water.

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    1. This is precisely why I need the newsfeed. This is the kind of thing I want to read about. And that’s what it used to be like. But since last year,every such report is accompanied with “I have a friend who has an immigrant friend! These people want to murder the immigrant friend of my friend! And me! They want to murder me! Resist!” After which I only can say “the plague on both your houses, you idiots” and go watch more Shark Tank.

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