Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Digital junk food.


    Heard a great description during a forum on social media last month re: what people want from their social media experience. The discussion stemmed from an observation that, while people will flock to instant gratification entertainment they are reluctant to sit through & endorse more meaningful subject matter. The term digital junk food was used to describe the psychological process of information consumption and I thought that was fairly accurate, though perhaps not evidence based. I needed to experiment for myself so I took to the popular social media feeds to determine if I could validate this digital junk food claim.

  1. step 1. Source 15 days worth of random feel good quotes and pictures that seem to garner the most amount of tee hee’s, hell ya’s and likes.
  2. step 2. Source 15 days worth of really important messaging. Health, political, social issues (still cool things) but between 30 seconds & 3 minutes long.
  3. step 3. Track the results and validate the hypothesis. 
Predictably, the feel good quotes and pictures out-liked and out-stat’d the important messaging by approx 20-1. While there are certainly more reasons than societies predisposition to be externally gratified or hesitation to invest time on important topics, the outcome was predictable. 

But what happens when we start getting fat from too much digital junk food. Is this the same as consuming unhealthy foods because they are quick and easy? If so, then we should probably ask ourselves, if real junk food is having such an adverse impact on our bodies, what impact is digital junk food having on our minds?

Are we at risk of the following digital diseases?

  1. wasting time?
  2. becoming less productive?
  3. incapable of developing our own internal guidance system?
  4. becoming desensitized to our social slide?
Stop consuming digital junk food – and start creating your own shit.

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