My media awareness experiment continues – simply, keeping a journal about what I consume media-wise, and why, and seeing what it teaches me about culture, media, and psychology.
I noted earlier that we’re just saturated with media. The flipside is that our media consumption is very, very habitual. Just watching oneself – or others – will make you painfully aware of how we access media habitually, and at times mindlessly.
Sitting down and flipping on the TV just because. Surfing the web on your phone just because. Lining up for a film premiere just because. Watching something just because you do. We’re putting information into our heads and playing games for no given reason just because we do.
There are doubtlessly good reasons for some of our habits. I suspect many of them also are the result of larger forces as well, and ones that don’t always have our best interests in mind. That’s something to address later, but the sheer FORCE of habit really amazed me as I began watching my own media habits.
It also got a lot more amazing as I watched other people. I not only saw their habits clearly, but how they were like mine. Very humbling in a way.
- How often people will schedule time around a particular TV show – even with timeshifting.
- Watching the end of a series even when it jumped the shark so hard it flew into orbit.
- Surfing the web on a phone just because its there.
- Surfing netflix or tv even if there’s nothing on, just searching the channel buffet for something.
- Lining up for any “event” on TV, games, etc.
As I said, we’re pouring a lot into our heads just out of habit. I suppose it’s a lot like eating-based habits we may all have. Note they’re not necessarily bad or destructive – but they are unconcious.
I found myself that I had a lot of time-wasting media habits that had evolved for good reasons – most, interestingly enough, connected to my desire to keep up on news and technology.
Unfortunately, these habits also mean that we’re pumping things into our heads without knowing why – and frankly, wasting time because it’s easy to fill space with media.
We even have new ways to waste time and get new media habits with each gadget, gizmo, and streaming service.
I suspect some of this – perhaps most of it – is really because we’re not used to thinking about or media consumption in any large-scale way. We’ve got so much of it, so much of it is good or amazing (or at least mediocre) and we haven’t had this much media stuff in all of human history. It’s not a situation that easily leads us to go “hey, what are we doing here?”
More as I think about it.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.