Conscious Consumption

Social transparency, that is the new catch phrase that you will be hearing about.  Marketers, News personalities, media analysts, politicians (hopefully) and preachers will stand on their pulpits of influence sharing their thoughts on this old idea (something we used to call ethics).

What is social transparency?  Follow the lineage of how our/their dollars are spent? Are we doing good with our dollars? Is the business that we buy our products from doing good? The easy answer for most people is either “no” or “I don’t no” or "I don't give a damn how they are spent.”

Consume consciously; I like that idea.  About 7yrs ago I made the shift in how I think about food.  Is this food good for me? Does it create beneficial health? Does it create disease? Is it damaging to the earth? I made the jump to become a conscious consumer of food.  As Michael Pollan famously said, “eat food, mostly plants”...that works for me.

After reading Information Diet by Clay Johnson the shift of how I consume media became fully aware to me. I had no idea just how far down the rabbit hole I had fallen.

Junk info TV is not an epiphany to anyone, we all know that there is a Republican news channel and that there is a Democrat news channel.  We all know that Facebook is collecting data on us to sell to companies so that they can target their advertising dollars.

Do we know what all this consuming is doing to us?

Over-consuming food creates obesity, disease and early death but can overdosing on junk media kill me?

I decided to try an experiment in my home.  First thing I did was get ride of the TV that you can see from the kitchen table (no leap of genius there).  That is the TV that would stay on in the background most days with a cable news channel playing. Second thing I did was limit my time on social media.  Giving myself only ten minutes in the morning to post blog updates to FB and to answer any tweets or FB mail that may have come in previously.

Day nine into my experiment:

I noticed how difficult of a time I had trying to avoid using FB or watching cable new channels.  This scares me! I’m I addicted to junk news and social media updates? For the past week I used both of them sparingly, only giving myself permission to use FB in the morning for photo-biz and half hour of news media while doing yoga.  It wasn't an easy vice to put down; thank God I never became a smoker.

The biggest hurdle by far is to get FB off my phone.  This is where it all started for me.  Every time I pick up my phone, there it is: the FB icon telling me to check up on the “whatever” of the moment. This needed to stop! I went into my phone settings trying to find a way to turn off FB notifications, no luck.  Went into my FB account and disabled updates (at least I thought I did). I no longer get updates on my computer, but they still came through to my phone. Next I deleted the FB app on the phone.  Then I deleted FB on my list of active accounts that my phone had access to, still no luck.  It's a pervasive bug in my phone.  This is not good.  Why can I not free myself from FB without having to de-activate my account?

This brings me back full circle to social transparency and how I hope to consciously consume media...

What is to gain from consciously consuming media? Perspective! True self-understanding perspective.

Many times in the past year I have written and re-written the sentence, “pulled together for a common purpose, not pushed together for a common enemy." That is perspective.

I do not wish to see the world as a consumer.  I wish to see it as as a member of the human race.

After days of a junk news sabbatical and days of abstaining from the social media influx, this is what I have learned…..I have more time to make art! That is a good thing.

P.S. I still can not get the FB icon off my phone...HELP!