Media Awareness 9/10/2012 – In The Habit

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.

Just consider:

  • 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

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

Media Awareness 9/3/2012 – Everywhere And You No Longer Care

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m doing an experiment on better understanding how I consume media – something important in a high-tech media-saturated age, and relevant as I often speak and write on geeky careers, which are quite media/technical.

The basic technique is simple – keep a journal and write down when you game, watch TV, or something similar and why you do it.  Just asking “why” is pretty informative.

However, one of the things I noticed quickly is that those of us in America are in a very media-saturated society.  I’m sure many others live in similar societies, but I’m focusing on my current situation.  My current situation is very loud, noisy, and distracting to say the least.

Televisions running in bars and oil change shops.  Advertising everywhere.  Celebreties famous for being famous hawking perfume when I go to buy a shirt.  Giant media events with film releases or book releases making news.  New shows to watch, new DVDs, etc.  This is even before we get to the internet.

Then there’s the tie-ins.  Products and promotionals.  Branded candy.  Games based on the movie of the book.  We are surrounded by media, by information, by things that go into our brain or tie into things already there.

This of course is understandable: we’re human, we’re creatures of information.  But media is everywhere, all the time.  Culture is not something we carry or act on, but something being poured into us.

When you start monitoring your media habits, you start realizing very quickly how much is coming in, at times involuntarily.

A few takeaways:

  • I think the love of “media” jobs – writer, actor, etc. is so popular as such careers are so visible.  If you see actors, hear about writers, etc. all the time then people will want to be them.
  • Media competition is competition for attention, and at high saturation points that can get pretty intense.  Just look at concerns over ad hit rates on web pages.
  • Control of your own media consumption is a way to prevent dilution of time and knowledge.  I’d love to see media-use strategies of successful people analyzed.


– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

An Experiment In Media Awareness

Awhile ago I got rid of cable.  For what I paid there was little that interested me, and most of what I did watch was online, availabe on Netflix, on Hulu, etc.  I rather liked the idea of freeing myself from cable and also wanted to see what happened.

I actually found myself quite happy without it, and as I’ve been watching all the (legal) options out there for getting content – the web, netflix, etc. it’s made me ask just why we consume media the way we do.  Sure we all have theories, but they’re usually theories about other people.

So I’m trying an experiment in being aware of how I use media – games, television, the web, and so on.  My goal is to understand why I do what I do, look for patterns, look for ways to improve it, and look at how I can leverage technology to get more of what I need media-wise.

The technique is simple (and you may recognize it from other psychological techniques): I keep a notebook and write down why I consumed the meida that I did and what it was.  The goal is not to judge (but believe me, that’ll happen), but to understand and observe.  I’m interested in seeing why I do what I do, and what it tells me.

I think this is important in an information age (especially one where so much ignorance seems to be prevalent), information technology, and for people with related careers.

If you feel like joining me, let me know.  Let’s see what happens.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at