What is your feed?
Nutritionist’s say that you are what you eat, I say that you are the media you take in. In other words, what you eat becomes what your physical body is powered on, similarly, the media we choose to expose ourselves to — every day — ends up becoming what we believe and to certain extent, who we are. In a time of smartphone-obsessed, screen-dependent individuals, media has become more powerful than guns, hence, how we filter this information may be what holds us between deceit and truth.
If you have not noticed it in yourself, observe others around you. You will easily begin to notice how people spend endless hours staring at their cell phone or computer screens. So you begin to ask yourself, what are they watching? Are they really making use of their time? Is what they are seeing on the screen all that interesting? That depends on the person, but this is how it’s been for me.
I consistently find myself emptily scrolling down social media and then, in the middle of it, realize the great waste of my time it is. I mean, am I learning anything from it? Am I being informed about the major happenings in the world? Is what I’m reading helping to improve my writing? No, no and no.
Social media is all about what people are doing with their lives, the photos from the last party, a funny video and even those emotional stories that teach us nothing but conventional wisdom. But it is amazing because even though it’s nothing really that interesting, I spend hours on it at the end of the day.
Once I realized that I was really wasting my time I decided to take drastic measures to avoid it, so I closed both my Snapchat and Instagram accounts and kept Twitter and Facebook as they were needed for school. Weeks after doing so I still found myself spending too much time on the web; the time I spent on the accounts I closed just transferred to the ones I didn’t.
It is then when I realized that it was going to be too difficult to avoid being in those social media because it is a mental break for me. I work over an hour and a half on an essay and then scroll down Facebook’s homepage to relax a little. So at that moment I thought, why don’t I just switch the media that I take into? Why don’t I use that time for a “mental break” in something that can keep me informed, aware and a moment from which I can really learn from?
So last week I started to add meaningful organizations and people into my list of followers and it has been great. Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, The Economist, UN, Science Magazine, The Elders etc. are all people or groups that either inform you about what is happening in the world or talk about and tweet about the most current ideas that are changing the world. In addition, apart from being interesting, it’s quality writing that I now read; concise and insightful blogs from Richard Branson or impacting articles from the Economist, all end up translating into my own writing. However, what has been most gratifying to me, is that I don’t feel ignorant anymore, I don’t feel blind to the world, quite the opposite, I feel on top of myself, on top of everything.
So will you “eat trash”? Or will you turn media into a tool to climb down the ladder of ignorance and onto the ladder of wisdom?