As news sites become more personalised, it's easy to get caught in a feedback loop of everyone agreeing with you. Sometimes it's nice to step outside of your box and read or learn about something more random.
Title image remixed from Jon S
We seek out news and information we agree with. This is called confirmation bias, and it's normal, but it's also limiting. When you seek out like-minded thinkers, you're bound to get stuck in a rut, especially when you're trying to come up with new ideas. You can actively push yourself to read or try new things, but it helps if you can automate the process of putting new material in front of you.
Get Random Reading Content Delivered to Your Inbox
The easiest way to get a random selection of news is to have it delivered right to your inbox. One simple way to do this is through journalism site Longform's newsletters or their Send Me A Story service. Every week you'll get a collection of solid articles from a wide variety of sources.
Another option is DailyLit, a service that lets you read a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction books through RSS or email. You can choose your own books, or subscribe to any of DailyLit's samplers, channels or tours for a more randomised selection of reading.
Automatically Get Different Points Of View
When you're browsing the news it's easy to stick with the sites you know. Sometimes that means you're missing an entirely different point of view. To see what others might be saying, we like Periscope and News360.
Randomise Your Start Page
Your browser's home page is a great place to dump interesting and random content for your accidental and automatic discovery. Obviously you don't want to do this on your work computer in case you get distracted, but it's a good way to discover new things when you have the time.
Changing your homepage is pretty easy (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer). You don't want entirely random content from all over the internet, so here are a few sites you can make your homepage to randomise (mostly) safely:
- Reddit's Random Page: This one has potential to be NSFW, but you'll find some crazy new things as well.
- Wikipedia Random: Every time you open up your browser you'll get a randomised Wikipedia entry.
- A Random StumbleUpon Site: Another option with the potential to be NSFW, but it will certainly cover the dustiest corners of the internet.
- Random Articles from Google Reader Play: Want a quick look at the random stuff that's popular in Google Reader? Here you go.
- A Random Word from Wordsmith: Sometimes a single word is enough, and a random one is even better.
Any site or service that supports a random page function works well in this context, so whatever your preference is, you should be able to find something new and interesting.