You are the Media You Consume

In this digital age, we are constantly consuming media of some variety; from checking our Twitter feed first thing in the morning, to the podcast we listen to on our way to work, and  updating our LinkedIn while simultaneously eating lunch.  We are completely engulfed by a multitude of different channels --  Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr and emerging platforms like HouseParty, Kik or Vero – there certainly is no shortage of platforms and more bubbling up every day.

Having access to all of these platforms is not necessarily a bad thing. We build connections, broaden our points of view, and smile at adorable animal videos. But the same way you should be aware and conscious of what you eat, you should be aware of your media consumption.

While there is an abundance of great, quality content in the media-verse, there’s equally enough bad, brain-cell-killing content to go around. Whether you’re fully conscious of it or not, the media you consume sticks with you, impacting your attitude and thoughts.

Picture this: You wake up, and the first thing you do is catch up on trending memes and read the latest articles on your favorite gossip blog. On your way to work you listen to a morning radio show that drags on about the most recent celebrity scandal. To end your day, you spend an hour (or two) on Facebook scrolling through your feed, watching your relatives fight about the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

None of these things are necessarily bad and they aren’t necessarily making you dumber, but are they really making you any smarter? Was any of the media you consumed today profound or thought-provoking? Did it challenge you to view a topic from a new perspective? Did you learn something new?

If we want to keep our mind sharp and increase our brain power, we must be acutely aware of monitoring what kind of media we consume, how much and how often. Especially since it plays such a large role in our lives. This can be easier said than done, so if you just can’t live without your favorite gossip blog, or you don’t think you can give up your late-night Instagram stalking, it’s okay. We all have our guilty pleasures. But leave it as that and try to only spend 30 minutes or less of your day with the stuff that really doesn’t matter. Fill the rest of your media consumption with educational podcasts or videos, such as TED Talks. Follow business leaders or people that you find inspiring on Twitter and Instagram, and mute the accounts that spew negativity. Better yet, pick up a book or talk to a person and put the media away altogether.

Regardless of what you choose, it’s important to remember that media is a powerful tool. Do your brain a favor and use it for something stimulating and intriguing.

Amy Greene