I was listening to the radio the other day and came across an NPR show that was discussing many things about our culture, but one thing in particular that I found interesting was the idea that we use TV as a way to escape all of the other media and ways of being connected that we deal with all day long.
I started to think about the way I use TV and realized that this was probably true. I don’t sit down to watch a show with excitement, on the edge of my seat waiting to be entertained. I plunk down, tired, looking for a way to unwind and relax. What!? It seems so ridiculous that something that is meant to stimulate and entertain has become a pacifier.
They say that watching TV or going on your computer is actually not good to do before bed because it stimulates your brain. So why do those activities feel relaxing to us? Is it because, in comparison to the other media we deal with all day (checking e-mail, texting etc) it is relaxing?
I challenged myself to avoid my computer and the TV last Sunday. I spent the day reading, cleaning, thinking of a design for our compost bin, making a shopping list, nothing really spectacular but at the same time I felt accomplished at the end of the day. It has become
apparent that living a purposeful life, for me, has to include using media and ways of being connected in a purposeful way as well. These are the ways I’m going to begin to use media purposefully (I love bullets, have you notice?):
- Not turn the TV on while I clean or do other things. If I feel like listening to something I’ll try to use music instead.
- Only check e-mail a couple of times a day instead of 800.
- spend time reading before bed instead of using the TV or computer
- stop reading things I never cared about on facebook (yikes! this is an important one)
Are there other ways to be a more conscious media consumer that I haven’t thought of?