A topic that I’ve been thinking about for sometime now and with my own children growing up immersed in technology, have been wondering if content over consumption is or will be a problem. Is anyone else thinking about this?
Content is everywhere and so accessible and at lower and lower prices, and everybody is creating and publishing their own content. Blogs, videos, photos, apps, web-sites, Facebook pages and more. When we access and consume all this content are as focused as we should be? Are we spending the time the content deserves or needs to understand it properly?
I’m a big fan of digital media and technology and yes I buy into the anywhere, anyhow and anytime philosophy. I like to be able to decide when and where and how I access the content and what content I’m accessing.
Mrs. Noble’s not convinced about my 2 screen policy in the living room – i.e. watching TV and using the iPad or iPhone at the same time (be it for browsing, Twitter, e-mails or anything). Her argument goes that I’m not focused on the one activity – one content consumption activity – so I can’t be getting the most out of it. She has a point and a good one. Yes it does take a lot for a TV programme to grab my attention fully but unless I consume the content and focus on it and nothing else, am I off to a bad start?
What got me really thinking about this was a BBC programme that’s on now, called “The Men Who Made Us Fat“, with Jacques Peretti. The title of this grabbed me and I thought I’ve got to watch it, as it’s surely all about self control so I was dying to see what they had to say and how it can be possibly be someone else’s fault. But I stand corrected – it’s an eye opener to say the least. Some critics of the programme disagree – quite harshly – but it makes some very very good points and there were a number of pivotal points over the last 40 or so years that have contributed to over consumption of food, that you can’t argue with.
Keep with me, this is relevant to the subject of content over consumption as you’ll see…
These pivotal points include:
- The availability of cheaper high calorie food – through sugar and corn syrup.
- The new idea of a snack – food consumption away from the traditional meals.
- Counter service food – fast food and takeaways, food when I want and where I want.
- Food manufacturers creating new low fat alternatives but still full of sugar.
- And food anywhere, anyhow and anytime – it’s everywhere you go.
And these have all contributed to a growing over consumption of food and yes the related health issues – particularly in the Western world.
Now back to content – let’s look at the similarities…
- The mass availability of cheap rich media content – e.g. from YouTube.
- Content snacks as cheap small pieces of content – e.g. music tracks and short episodes.
- Counter service – content anywhere I want through iTunes, Amazon, Google etc.
- New types of content from creators – e.g. apps for £0.69.
- And content anywhere, anyhow and anytime – what the consumer is wanting.
Content over consumption is coming and for some it’s already here. Is it a problem though? That’s the million dollar question. I don’t think so if we manage the consumption properly – and this is down to individuals and parents. Moderation is the key word and content is good in the right amounts and when appropriately filtered for the little guys. We don’t want to stop the trends we’ve got now, with everyone being able to create their own high quality content – and build up those associated creative (and technology) skills. But at the same time we don’t want to create a bottomless content pit where you can’t sort out the good from the bad easily and become overwhelmed by the volume.
Yes content is king but it’s about quality not quantity.
And some thoughts from the Dalai Lama to finish on…