Archive - Dec 31, 2012

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You Are What You Eat, the Online Version

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. Normally, it is used to talk about food. Eat healthy food and you'll be healthy. Eat crap and, well, you'll be full of shit. I've been thinking about this recently in terms of our media diets. What sort of media are you consuming? When you play video games, are they making you healthier or less healthy? I've been touching on this in a couple recent blog posts about videos games. What about the shows on television?

I find that I watch very little television these days. Most of them have too much violence for me. Even shows that would otherwise be interesting, like some good science fiction, still has too much violence for me. It is a cheap way of getting audiences emotionally involved. It made me think of what television critic Eric Deggans calls the Persistent Disbelief Syndrome, another cheap trick to get viewers involved. Yes, it is challenging to create a show that is compelling and full of intrigue without resorting to violence or other cheap tricks, but perhaps we need to move away from shows that fail to meet that.

For me, I've shifted much of my media consumption online. I'm following over 3000 people on Twitter and have over 2,500 friends on Facebook. I read a lot of blogs, mostly via blog readers these days, and get a lot of information from other online sources as well.

For quite a while, I was finding blog posts to read through sites which would share who visited your blog. MyBlogLog, BlogLog, BlogFrog and others. These seem to have faded away, but I liked them. I liked the reciprocity of visiting the blogs of people who have visited you. It often made for better conversations.

Then, there were the sites like EntreCard, Adgitize, and CMF Forums. These were bloggers' ad exchanges. They still had some of the feel of reciprocity that the sites like MyBlogLog had. Most of them are gone now as well.

About the only sites that I'm really using much these days to connect with other bloggers is Empire Avenue and Triberr. Triberr leads to some good blog posts and helps drive a little traffic, but it's not especially compelling and Empire Avenue is more about sites like Facebook and Twitter than it is about blogs.

So, I'm looking for ways to find more compelling content. At the same time, I'm looking much more seriously at what I'm reading via Facebook and Twitter. Is the content I'm finding compelling? Is it building mental, emotional or social resilience, to go back to my discussions about SuperBetter? The same can be said about YouTube. Are you watching Angry Orange or TED talks?

One of the great things about online media is that it is a conversation, not necessarily just a broadcast. Each of us has the opportunity to create our own content. What is our content doing for society? Is it echoing anger filled talking points from one side of the political spectrum or the other? Is it divisive and hyperpartisan, or is it hearing what others have to say and working towards common goals?

Thinking back about the CT Health Foundation's Health Leaders Fellowship Program, I come back to key works about intent; what is your intent in what you are posting? And impact, what sort of impact are you actually having? Let's work together towards a more intentional online social media production and consumption, and let's see what sort of impact we're really having.

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