Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Year's (Media) Diet Part 2: The Need

On Friday, I listed a number of formative articles, essays and songs which have inspired me over the last while explore a "digital diet" of sorts. Today, I look a bit deeper into the need I was feeling to start making the shift...


Does anybody else remember a time when dieting was about food and not media?

It all began last January when Michael Krahn unintentionally called me out with this great post on "Intellectual Obesity."

Krahn's contention that "[j]ust as overindulgence in food immobilizes the body, so the over-consumption of information immobilizes the mind" resonated with me greatly and got me thinking of the vast amount of "information" I was ingesting on a regular basis.

For those of you who know me well, you know I'm one of those people who tends to know "a little bit about a lot of things." I'm no Ken Jennings, but I do take pride in spreading the love when I come across a good idea or interesting story - and there's lots of those to find if one looks hard enough.

Thing is, thanks to the ever-growing reach of the internet, it really isn't that hard to find such stories/ideas anymore.

In fact, for those of us who Gladwell would call "Connectors" it has become increasingly hard to find the right balance between collecting and sharing. To stick with the food analogy, we're so busy ingesting, that we rarely make the time to digest anything anymore (as Kester Brewin notes in this post on "Digital Obesity,"the conveyor belt of information that we have before us is moving "too quickly for us to reflectively process it").

This was me; slowing down under the weight of too much information and making increasingly less time to allow this learning to inform my life. Mentally I was neither lean nor inspired anymore, just "full" and "heavy." It was gluttonous and it wasn't healthy.

The growing list of unread posts in Google Reader was proof enough, but the rapidly increasing space between posts on this blog made it even clearer: I was in need of a media diet.

And so I slowly started to take stock of how much information I was taking in, trying to pinpoint where I was ingesting the most empty calories, and challenging myself to better digest that which I did consume.

Up next:

Why I started with Facebook...


Michael Krahn said...

I'm thinking about this... like every day now. And now I have an iPhone too.

Sometimes I think I won't know if my habits are good or bad until years down the road...

James Kingsley said...

I hear ya - once you started cutting into things, I've found there's a lot of layers to peel.

Surprisingly - and I do plan on posting on this eventually - I've found my iPhone to be a great tool in streamlining things and aiding in the overall diet...

Michael Krahn said...

Ah - looking forward to that!