I’m asking folks taking our “MediaLIT: Overcoming Information Overload” MOOC course to describe their media use for a full day. In this post I’m combining several posts I did for my regular ASU course, as a demonstration of what I’m talking about. Note to MOOC folks: We don’t expect you to write something this long!
As a “consumer”:
My daily media consumption is enormous, because I do this for a living. Here’s what happened one recent day:
When I wake up I briefly check email and Twitter. If something seems super-urgent I may open an email or click through to a link. Usually I don’t.
At breakfast, using a tablet, I go to the homepages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Financial Times. All of those outlets have a world view, and I want to see what their editors–some of the best in journalism–believe is important. I also check my RSS newsreader, which collects stories and links from a variet of sources I’ve pre-selected.
At my home-office desk:
— I check out a number of websites including Reddit, BoingBoing, Ars Technica, National Review, TechDirt, Jon Oliver (when HBO posts his regular commentary), among others.
— I run Twitter and Google+ in separate browser tabs but don’t try to keep up with it all the time (though I confess I check them more often than I should.) Whether an important story or some ridiculous meme is bubbling up, I’ll be likely to notice it among the people I follow. I also check 5 Twitter lists I follow on these topics: journalism, the media business, technology, entrepreneurship and media literacy.
— Besides regular email, I subscribe to several mail lists on those topics, as well as a great daily list of five items from This.cm, a site that creates serendipity for me. I sort those separately in my email inbox, and read them one after the other. Many of the links have already shown up in Twitter, and many point to the traditional and other media sites I routinely scan.
During the day I’m constantly bouncing around to various media including videos (typically posted on YouTube and Vimeo), audio (NPR and others), and other websites.
After dinner I sometimes watch videos on our television, but almost never live TV. We subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime and satellite (Dish). I record some TV series (e.g. “Justified”) and watch when I have time, skipping through the commercials.
On my bedside table I have a hardcover book or two (one from the library and one I’ve bought, the latter almost always written by someone I know), and a Kindle Voyager e-reader. I read for a half hour or so before going to sleep.
Takeaways (similar to what I found when I did this several years ago):
I listen to or watch very little broadcast media apart from NPR (or super-important breaking news, very very rarely).
My main sources of trusted information resemble some of the ones from several decades ago, such as the New York Times (which, like all other media, I do not trust fully, since they do get things wrong from time to time). I get to them in some different ways, however.
In particular, several Twitter lists and Google+ circles (roughly the same thing; collections of people I follow about specific topics) have become filters of great value. I can generally depend on them to send me to information I need to know about. However, I know I’m missing some important things if I rely only on other people to flag things.
For me, media consumption is an evolving collection of people, sites, conversations, and entertainment. Much of it overlaps. It takes more effort on my part, but I believe I’m vastly better informed — and entertained.
As a creator:
I create a lot of media, too, though not nearly as much as I “consume” (I hate that word; as I’ve told students in digital media literacy, we should use media, not consume it).
On a given day, here’s roughly how I created media. I’m guessing it’s different from what students do these days. Most of what I create is text. Not all, but most.
In the morning, I answered a batch of email. I do this regularly during the day, because I get a lot and I try to keep up with it. I’ll never get to the fabled “inbox zero” but I’ll try. Occasionally I get and send several text messages, most often with my wife.
I post frequently on Twitter, and more occasionally on Google+. (I rarely use Facebook, for reasons I described in my book Mediactive.)
Lately, I’ve been posting (too infrequently!) to This.cm, a wonderful new service that tries to collect–from a bunch of interesting users–just a few items per day that we all believe everyone should see. The site is in beta so I can’t invite all of you to join it, yet.
My blog doesn’t get enough love, though I do post there from time to time. On the day in question I wasted a lot of time responding to someone who was trying to convince me (actually, his own fans) that I’m wrong about net neutrality.
As a longtime photographer I take lots of pictures. I don’t post most of them, but when I do it’s usually to Flickr or Google+ or my blog. I need to do this more. I don’t have an Instagram account but probably should get one.
There’s a way I semi-create media that most of don’t appreciate: individualized media via online services. Example: I wanted driving directions the other day, and used Google Maps. It produced a page of directions and a map. This is media, too–but just for me.
My other media creation, on a regular basis, doesn’t get seen by anyone but me for some period of time: writing I’m doing for my columns and essays at Slate and Medium, as well as a new book. In a way, those are the most traditional forms of media I’ve been making.
There’s more, but you get the idea!