Why ignorance is bliss today & 5 ways to ignore online junk

I’m a cleanliness freak – to the extent of cleaning up my Facebook wall. Over the last week, there’s been a lot of spam with wall messages that read: “Hahaha! Mine is hilarious. Check out yours”? Familiar? Yes, that silly app which tells you how you would look in the future. I never tried it, but tired of the requests, I urged friends to avoid it via a FB update. 13 people liked it, but I only hope its the latter of these 2 messages it conveys: how awful I look, and how useless that app is. (I take everybody’s privacy too seriously, hence some masking)

My Status Update
Still wondering what 13 people really liked?

Publicity fail

That application – whatever its name is – is a complete fail in terms of its messaging. Understand the scenario: that app is sending me a persuading message to try it on a friend’s recommendation. The least I expect is evidence that the app worked for my friend.

What that useless app does to your & others wall
What that useless app does to your & others' wall

So if A sends me a request to view that aging app, I want to see how A would look 50 years from now. And realistic evidence adds trust, that then drives my emotions to try it out, along with some peer pressure. But what does the invite show you? A generic image of a old man, that in no way seems to be a product of an image manipulation algorithm or related to the friend who recommended it to me. Over and above, it generates spam by writing an external link to my friends’ wall. Result: #epic #fail

Information Overload

We are being exposed to 60 times the data as compared to someone in 40 years back (read it somewhere). We’re exposed to scores of messages from the media galaxy: television, print, outdoor banners, news, blogs, firehoses (update streams from Twitter, Facebook, etc) and more. How much of it can you really take? Hardly 1% of it can be glanced through. But don’t treat the other 99% as backlog. Its sludge, let it flow away. In this age of information overload, ignorance is bliss, and ignoring unwanted messages is the secret to having the useful messages delivered to you.

5 ways to filter incoming information:

1. Be careful with your social graph

When I accept friend requests, I ensure that I know the person personally and that the person won’t misuse the platform to market viagara or post referral links (sometimes I do that). I refuse friendship extended by recruiters, marketeers and internet trolls (who just want to grow connections). This will reduce a lot of junk in your news-stream.

2. Control your subscriptions

To date, I have unsubscribed over 75 mailing lists & 15 RSS feeds that I previously subscribed – knowingly or unknowingly. With some stubborn sites like TimesJob, you need to keep unsubscribing until they stop. Other likes Shaadi.com 🙂 leave you no option but to delete your account.

3. Use email filters

That’s one orgasmic feature Gmail has. Sort email from mailing lists, office, people, deal sites, bank statements, bills, jobs, etc and make it skip the inbox; nothing unactionable will ever reach your Inbox.

4. Avoid unwanted applications

Every social platform has apps. And unless you want to know what somebody’s devil or musical name is, that information is junk. I’ve taken the pains to block several FB apps that keeps my news stream clean.

5. Register to DND lists

In India, you can register yourself to the national DND registry to avoid cold-calls from telemarketeers & SMS selling weight-loss programs, investment options & holiday packages.

Hope this helps. Cheers!

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