I am a huge consumer of media. Having internet access at work, at home, and on my phone makes it too easy to check news sites and blogs multiple times a day, to follow links and track down sources, to read tangential stories, to always seek more and more information about any given topic.
I like to think of my participation in the internet as a curatorial role—sifting through articles and blog posts and sharing the ones that appeal to me, particularly those that address topics commonly overlooked in major media outlets. This is my primary use for Facebook, day-to-day, and I’ve received positive feedback for what I share. But at a certain point, I spend so much time and energy sifting and consuming that there isn’t enough left to produce anything of my own. I’ve become so accustomed to checking media outlets regularly that if I go a day without it, I get anxious that something very important has happened and I have missed it. I think my media usage is probably approaching addiction in this respect.
It’s so easy to look outward for knowledge, and there is so much entertainment and stimulation to be had out there, that I neglect my own ideas and creativity in the process. In January I wrote a post on the need for balance between input and output in terms of creative expression, and I realize now that I have not been following my own advice. In the last year, for all I have learned about other people and their pursuits, I have only dabbled in creating my own art and music. I haven’t written anything that wasn’t purely academic since early February.
So, in an effort to correct the imbalance, I’m going to try to cut my media consumption fairly severely and to redirect that energy into creative pursuits. Sure, I will miss some good blog posts and news stories. There will be knowledge out there that I did not gain. But there is knowledge within, too, that can only be accessed by quiet introspection and by providing avenues for it to come out.