Unfortunately, it’s pretty impossible to avoid US election silly season no matter where you are in the world but there are ways of filtering it out a little.
They say that election campaigning actually being the day of or day after their inauguration, while I’m not sure that this has been true in the past it certainly feels like since 2016. I really have more important things to do than being sucked into US chaos.
So, here is how I am avoiding the US right now.
It’s important to know what’s going on in the news but that doesn’t have to be US focused all the time, there are more things happening than what that supposed “superpower” is doing.
The main way I see news is through RSS feeds. Many news websites still have them even though they don’t advertise them. Often you can paste a URL into an RSS reader and it will self-discover the feeds. I have feeds set up for the BBC, Canadian newspapers and TV news, local news from the UK and so much more. Some RSS readers have options to display just the headline or the first two lines of the articles as well.
So, which RSS reader do I choose? Actually I switch between a couple but here is a list of ones which are pretty good:
News Blur has a limit until you have to move to a subscription model but it does have apps. I prefer the interface and multiple view options that Netvibes offers.
This is a brilliant video by Chris Were on News Blur:
It’s not so easy to avoid the US watching television news, where ever you are in the world channels seem to have a blind fascination with the country. There are ways to trim that content down though.
First, don’t watch US cable TV news channels like CNN, Fox and MSNBC, much of their content isn’t really news but editorials with a never-ending supply of so-called experts interspersed with adverts to cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Secondly, avoid international stations that target the US market. I am thinking of BBC World News and Russia Today, both of which package their content with US news as a priority. I do enjoy BBC World News but I really want to hear more news from home, the UK, or at an international level.
Thirdly, consider watching TV news that broadcasts live online from channels outside the US, such as:
There are also many other news streaming services within and outside of YouTube.
Remember this: No radio station is local anymore. It used to be the case many, including myself, would buy a Shortwave radio to listen to broadcasts from overseas. Many of the stations were run by governments though which for me put fears of being fed propaganda.
These days many radio stations will stream their service online. For me this has opened up a whole new world of news and cultural entertainment especially as Canadian radio has a typical US style of broadcasting intermixed with hundreds of adverts which doesn’t make them at all listenable. It would take me forever to list all of my the stations I enjoy listening to but simply doing performing a internet search can find a great selection to suit anybodies interest.
I highly recommend signing up for a free account at TuneIn who pool many radio station feeds on their site.
As every Twitter user can testify to there is a flood of politically charged content on this platform right now, the majority of it is angry and offensive. So there are ways to filter out some of the vulgarities but there is no way to make it go away for good.
1. Avoid the platform altogether. I believe there are many who are taking this strategy at least until the election is over. This is most likely not an option for some people as they use Twitter for marketing or even an income source.
2. Place those you follow into lists then view them in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Those in lists may never speak about politics, for example, comic shops or companies.
3. Unfollow users who constantly talk about politics. I know many who do this from the time they get up to the time they go to sleep.
4. Mute accounts until the elections are over. You can still go to their accounts and see their content but it will not cram up your main timeline.
5. Mute words and phrases. You can go to town with this feature and it partly does work although sometimes you will see a placeholder in the timeline where you content doesn’t appear. See video below on how to achieve this.
This TEDx talk is quite good and to quote John Noonan verbatim “people now digest news to validate their own thoughts”. There is so much anger out there it frightens me off contributing to social media platforms but I try to focus on subjects that are either jovial or informative. Unfortunately, everyone wants to say their piece on politics so the less chance there is that people will find my content unless they are specifically interested in that subject.