Is It Time For You To Go On An ‘Information Diet’?

Is It Time For You To Go On An ‘Information Diet’?


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We ‘re used to think of “ fleshiness ” in physical terms — unsanitary weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there ‘s besides an fleshiness of data that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes : insalubrious information fried in our own preconceptions.

In The Information Diet, open-source-Internet activist Clay Johnson makes the case for more “ conscious consumption ” of news program and information. Johnson, the founder of Blue State Digital, which provided the on-line scheme for the 2008 Obama political campaign, talks with NPR ‘s Scott Simon about ways to slim and stretch our minds.
The Information Diet

The Information Diet

A Case for Conscious Consumption by Clay A. Johnson Hardcover, 160 pages | purchase

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Interview Highlights

On the similarities between eating food and consuming information “ Our bodies are wired to love salt, fatten and carbohydrate. … Our minds are actually wired to be affirmed and be told that we ‘re right. … Who wants to hear the accuracy when they can hear that they ‘re right ? Who wants to be informed when they can be affirmed ? What we do is we tell our media that that ‘s what we want to hear, and our media responds to that by telling us what it is that we want, and sometimes that is n’t what ‘s best for us. ” On recognizing his own unhealthful media diet while working on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign “ I noticed that because of our media diet, we were consuming everything that was bang-up about Howard Dean. even after that shout incidental in Iowa, we still thought we could win and that we would make it, and we went on to New Hampshire and South Carolina think that victory was just around the corner. That was when I began to see that we can get a little delusional in the earth of politics .

“ It sort of culminated with me when I saw a guy holding a sign over his head in front of the White House a couple of years ago that said, ‘Keep your government hands off my Medicare, ‘ and another person in front of Walter Reed Army Hospital saying, ‘Enlist here to die for Haliburton. ‘ “ That ‘s what made me start think : There ‘s something going on here with our grandiosity, and there ‘s something going on hera with our media diets, where even the most highly informed of us can be ignorant. ”

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Jake Brewer /O’Reilly Media

Jake Brewer /O’Reilly Media

On how more information can narrow, rather than widen horizons “ What choice gives us, what option of information gives us, is the ability to misinform ourselves in all kinds of new ways. If you can have a discussion with person future to you who says, ‘I think X is right, ‘ and the early person says, ‘I think Y is decline, ‘ and then you can turn around to your reciprocal computers and then build a case for why you ‘re both incorrectly — then all of a sudden, that synthesis that has truly made … majority rule bang-up starts going away. We lose our ability to synthesize when we can always prove ourselves right. ”

On why your “clicks have consequences” “ just because your boss does n’t see you looking at that Kim Kardashian station on The Huffington Post does n’t mean that it ‘s not without consequence. When you click on it, you ‘re making it so that it ‘s more visible to other people. That means an data diet is something that ‘s of ethical consequence to you and others. … “ When you go to The Huffington Post or many major media outlets right immediately, what they do is they ‘ll come up with possibly 20 or 30, or possibly just two, different headlines for a detail floor, and then when you click on that, that ‘s a vote for one of those headlines. Over time, the headline with the most clicks wins and goes on the front page. And that ‘s how we ‘re making some editorial decisions now. … “ A lot of AOL properties and early “ content farms ” … who are trying to sort of commoditize the production of message, wake up in the dawn and look on Google search trends. Google makes it publicly available what are the exceed things that people are searching for every consequence. so, column decisions get made based on this information. It ‘s very this idea of voting for — in identical little, about nontransparent, subconscious mind ways — for message that is n’t very thoroughly for people. ” On why fast-food companies aren’t entirely to blame for unhealthful eating, and online communities aren’t entirely to blame for unhealthful information consumption “ fleshiness is a complicated problem. obviously, fleshiness has to do with access, and fleshiness has to do with the economic conditions, but it sometimes besides has to do with gorge, and the same matter happens with information. I think a fortune of people do n’t have big access to information and good information, that ‘s for certain, but besides in the universe of the Internet, we have about cosmopolitan access to everything that we need. And that means that we have to make endow decisions and inform decisions about what it is that we ‘re consuming. It ‘s the only direction to sort of ‘live veracious ‘ on-line. ” On adapting Michael Pollan’s famous food diet (“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants”) for information If we want to make media better, then we ‘ve got to start consuming better media.

“ Seek. not excessively a lot. by and large facts. Eat low on the sort of ‘information food chain, ‘ and stick close to sources. If it ‘s an article about a charge in Congress, or even at a statehouse somewhere, going deep and actually trying to read the bill itself is actually, I think, advantageous. And it takes a little bite of time to pick up. Bills … [ and ] house resolutions are not, the most entertaining things to read for most people. But getting to know what our legislative lyric is helps us, I think, become better citizens. ” On encouraging good habits “ The question is, can we make adequate people go : ‘Hey, you know what ? I ‘m done. I ‘m done with the sensationalism of media. I ‘m done being taken advantage of by media companies so that I can have ads sold to me. ‘ … If we want to make media better, then we ‘ve got to start consuming better media. ”

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Category : Health

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