Tuesday, July 31, 2012

media awareness & responsibility

Most of what we see in this world is media-related. We spend hours watching TV and surfing the Internet. It is curated by the masses. It is curated by you, by me. Every time you share an article, every time you pin something, you are adding to the messages we see. While I couldn't be more excited or more grateful for the technologies we have created for ourselves, with it comes great responsibility. We have responsibilities that we cannot even begin to comprehend. So we must ask ourselves questions when we are curating, creating or even consuming media. And we must do certain things to combat the "addiction" to media. Here are some of my thoughts when it comes to using media in everyday life:

1// Live life without media. Limit yourself. For me, this meant that I had to delete Facebook off my iPhone. It was a distraction. It took too much time away from the people that mean the world to me. It took too much time away from finding myself, keeping myself healthy and doing real work. Now I check Facebook a couple of times a day as opposed to a few times an hour. My family has also gotten rid of cable TV in favor of Netflix. We watch way less TV and spend way more time as a family. I do not miss Facebook or cable.

2// Be self-aware. Understand and recognize your feelings about the media you consume. This is a hard one. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to delete Facebook off my phone. I had to really see myself becoming anxious about it and I had to tell myself that that was bad. When I had the feeling I should do it, I did. I didn't hesitate. Are you overly concerned about social media updates? Are you overly concerned with the 24-hour news cycle? Get a grip and recognize that this is not good! Also, recognize your feelings about the actual content. Is it worth the way you are feeling? Often times, jealousy and anger can become very intense over the Internet. Take a step back and realize why something is making you feel that way.

3// Educate others about what it means to be self-aware. Do exactly what I am doing right now.

4// When posting online, always source. This is important for two reasons: It is fair to the person who created the information in the first place. Bloggers, photographers, crafters.. all get pretty serious about this. Link to the original source. Google and random Tumblr accounts are not real sources. The second reason is that people need to know where their information is coming from. Do I trust this source? Why or why not?

5// Be particularly careful about the messages you create. Think about your ultimate message. We should all have one. Before you click publish or share, think about if the content is worth posting. Why are you posting it? What do you hope to accomplish? Does this piece of content support my thesis as a user of media? Am I perpetuating a stereotype? Am I portraying reality? Am I okay with the ramifications it may cause when I click share? Am I willing to take criticism? These are all questions we should ask ourselves every single time.

These tips can be useful with all the media you consume. The Internet is a great example because it is so widely used, but how do you feel about television, advertisements, magazines, books? The list goes on!

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