(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort. Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)
How do you make your media choices? As Serdar notes in an excellent column, choices are complicated; we often have so many we play it safe. A thousand movies present options so overwhelming we go with a sequel. The next One Piece episode will deliver something you liked ten episodes ago. Choice makes us flee to safety too often – and our existing technology and culture encourage it because it’s profitable.
Our media diet is poorer for this paradox – I’m tired of all the sameness even when it’s good sameness like Marvel. Anyway, the post is excellent, go read it.
I relate to this subject as I’ve been cultivating my reading lately. I wanted to read new works – or ones I missed – and re-read beloved books from my past to ground myself. Thus I’m going through a delightful mix of Taoist mysticism, writing advice, informative non-fiction, novels I loved, and fiction that I selected carefully. One week I’m reading about breath meditation, the next is re-reading Asprin’s “Another Fine Myth.”
I found this cultivation takes continuous effort. Do I really want to read this book? Will this book provide a benefit for me? Have my priorities changed? Am I the kind of person who will spend $16.00 on a fascinating translation of a short, obscure document on health practices of centuries past (answer: yes).
I’ve realized that cultivating our reading – or any media consumption – takes effort, discipline, and practice. It’s also something no one taught us how to do – and why would we they? People assume you pick up media selectivity somewhere, and isn’t all this choice a good thing anyway?
We’ve been thrust into a world of choice we never expected with little training to deal with it.
Sometimes I speculate, “could someone write a book or teach a class on media selectivity?” Is there a way to get people on board with more careful media choices? Of course, we know that would just be another work viying for attention; what are the odds someone could be the Marie Kondo of media choice?
Right now all I and my friends can do is encourage people to make choice, share our findings, and go on. If you’re doing the same, please share – maybe we can cultivate our media diets together. Perhaps that’s the best – or only – way.