I was a big fan of Flipboard on my iPad and I find all manner of things there to push my imagination into strange, interesting, informative, weird, educational, provacative, errr…. educational avenues.
But, like many online publishers seem to have done, I became weary of the commenters. Some of those folks obviously didn’t make it out of Darwin’s Grade One class. But they believe they have a Masters of Absorbing Discourse
MAD is a delusional issue best treated by massive doses of alcohol to silence the patient resulting in him incoherently throwing up in the corner of the room but mercifully unable to write. A feat somewhat difficult to accomplish on the Internet.
I got my first serious taste of this a half year ago (give or take a few months) when the Confederate Flag flap went off with a roar louder than the cannons at Fort Sumter. I, a silly Canadian, posted a few (what were in hindsight) left wing posts about this bringing the MAD ones out of their dark corners. I couldn’t believe half of what I was reading but, like a train wreck in slow motion, I couldn’t take my eyes off the scrolling comments.
My subscriber numbers soared. All these “comments” had set an alarm out in both directions and MAD representatives of the right and left, the anti and pro-gun, the “our heritage” and the “northerners” all came out to wish each other well in the comments. This wasn’t a train wreck, it was an airplane crashing into a train wreck of comments.
I got so sick of these, I stopped posting anything but great pics of small kittens and flowers (I did start a gardening Flipboard magazine briefly in this period.) I had long conversations with myself and with some friends about the state of the Net.
Bottom line. I stopped publishing any political or gun-related article.
And then the board lit up again. I flipped what I thought was a small and insignificant post (yet amusing) about Neil deGrasse Tyson and a rapper (the rapper believed the earth was flat) calling out the rapper. The MAD folks came out in droves. After three days of ongoing vitriol, and what passes for conversation, I”d had enough and started deleting the posts that were bolded name calling as a title and no content. I had difficulty imagining that the Internet had stooped so low as to be sending bold title slams back and forth. How naive of me (in retrospect)
After that, I slowed right down in my posting. I found myself editing and asking, “Will this bring out those who are MAD?” Self-editing.
Flipboard has no option to eliminate all comments so if you have a public magazine, there will be commenters.
I like Flipboard. So I made myself a private magazine and named it in Gaelic. I thought I’d reflip some articles/resources into my new magazine but I couldn’t. There’s no way to search through old flips. You flip ’em, they’re as good as gone. So unless I want to flip through thousands of articles, it’s not going to happen.
It’s great for reading “new” things (and it excels at that) but not for finding older ones.
By deleting the magazine and simply reading, I get all the enjoyment and none of the hassle. And, if I really like the article, I can send it to my Evernote file via email so I can find it again.
I think there comes a time when every writer has to step back and say, “This kind of attitude sucks the positive energy right out of me. And I refuse to encourage or be the source for this kind of behaviour.
I no longer need things or people that bring a negative vibe to my life. It’s tough enough being positive as it is.
One great load of negativity disappeared when that button was pushed.
I discovered how Canadians can get Apple News (see below) and decided to give that a try. Bottom line, it’s easier to use, not restricted to a small number of feeds and I can get almost everything I had in Flipboard in News. But it’s not perfect either as I’ll discuss in a future post
To get News if you’re a Canadian on iPad. Go to Settings>General>Location Settings and set your location to the United States. Answer a few questions about language. Then reboot your iPad. (hold down the home key and on/off key until it goes dark and reboots). News should pop up.
The Flipboard magazine is gone. Dead. I wondered if I’d regret doing this but the feeling has been one of relief. It started the moment I deleted the magazine and it hasn’t returned. I don’t need that level of negativity in my life.
So goodbye Flipboard magazine, it was good but it’s over.
And by the way, it’s not me – it’s you.