When I Deleted My News Feed My Day Got Longer and Calmer

 I deleted the news feed on my phone. I wanted what “Manjoo was having”: more free time, and a clearer head.

For two months, he had turned off digital news notifications including all social networks and subscribed to three print newspapers plus a weekly newsmagazine. His mantra: Get news. Not too quickly. Avoid Social.

Basically, I was trying to slow-jam the news* — I still wanted to be informed, but was looking to formats that prized depth and accuracy over speed.

His self-imposed asceticism was life changing:

Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, always ready to break into my day with half-baked bulletins.

Now I am not just less anxious and less addicted to the news, I am more widely informed… And I’m embarrassed about how much free time I have...


Today Clock


Inspired by Manjoo, I wanted to see what kind of change disengaging from escalating habit of checking my news feed might bring to my life. In my experiment, I limited my news intake to two email newsletters, sites I scout for my work, and an evening news summary on the radio. (Social media has never been a fierce draw for me so I didn’t have to disable it).

I noticed the change immediately: The seconds and minutes I would have spent checking feeds throughout the day gradually grew into a calm, luxurious sense of time. Liberated from the bleak, “emergency”  mindset that breaking news fuels, I felt a palpable sense of spaciousness. Gone were reports of events I could not control and would only make me anxious.

I realized that the much “breaking” or social media-driven “news” rarely offers much I really need. When I asked myself Ginny Jordan’s great question “Is it additive?”, the answer was usually no.

All-in-all a big payoff.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider


*Manjoo was referring to the Tonight Show’ Jimmy Fallon’s ongoing riff on “slow-jamming the news” with various politicians. Here’s a beautiful tiny snippet with Obama (video link here.)  (And check out the superb 7 minute slow-jam Obama did before he left office).

2 Responses to When I Deleted My News Feed My Day Got Longer and Calmer

  1. kimithy 03.14.2018 at 11:27am #

    YES, THIS.

    One of the most wonderful things for my mental health ended up being limiting my news intake to an hour of NPR on the way in or way home from work, and none on the weekends (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me or a little Colbert may count a bit, but it’s hilarious and truly delightful so I don’t really consider that “news” intake) 🙂

  2. kimithy 03.14.2018 at 11:32am #

    Oops not Colbert, meant Oliver. Oy, this is why I shouldn’t comment before coffee 🙂

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