Slowing down new media consumption


The current generation of internet consumers live in a world of “instant gratification and quick fixes” which leads to a “loss of patience and a lack of deep thinking.”

Rob Weatherhead, The Guardian, quoting research findings of a Pew Internet study.

In a world where media consumption is dominated by online media content, attention spans are getting shorter. The amount of content available has increased exponentially, and content creation emphasises faster, low priced (and often low quality) content production.

What are the implications of the way we embrace new media technologies? How can we operate in the new media environment in a more mindful way? One answer to this question is the slow media movement.

The Slow Movement

In 1986, Italian man Carlo Petrini protested the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Rome. From this stemmed the slow food movement, advocating quality over quantity, thoughtful, savouring experiences rather than mindless consumption.

In real life terms: the slow, thoughtful consumption of quality of healthy wholefoods in the company of family and friends, rather than on-the-go consumption of a crappy McDonald’s cheeseburger.

This movement spread to many other areas of culture, one of these being media consumption.

Slow Media

What does the slow media movement advocate for?

–       Mindful, thoughtful media consumption

–       Quality content

–       Promotes monotasking- concentrating on one thing at a time

–       Social media- connecting people, facilitating quality, in depth discussion

–       Distribution of content via recommendations, rather than advertising

A slow media manifesto has been developed, with guidelines for creating and consuming sustainable and focused media.

To gain an understanding of the ideas surrounding slow media, try reducing your daily media intake- see how long you can go for without using the internet. If this is too difficult, keep a tally of how many pages and links you click on during a single browsing session.

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