Information is like food - watch your diet!
We live in an age of attention.
Media consumption happens throughout our days and some of the most powerful entities in the world are using their big data schemes to find the best ways to win a little bit more of our attention. To say that we are bombarded with content would be an understatement. We end up consuming information when we don't want it or need it just because someone (or something) has figured out how to lure us in with just the right hook at just the right time.
This world of attention offers abundant opportunities and access to life-changing information that we have never had before. But just like a healthy food diet, a healthy information diet is critical to our overall health. The negative results of a poor information diet include overwhelm, depression, ideological extremism, and an overall decrease in what we think of as "mental" health. But just as healthy food is more available to more people than ever, we can - with a bit of effort - achieve a healthy information diet.
We can't go back to the world from before so we need to come up with strategies to navigate through this sea of content. This means that we now need to pay more attention to that which is demanding (or hacking) our attention. Watch what you watch, read, and listen to - see how it makes you feel; see what it makes you think about; see how it makes you act. Find trusted sources that reliably produce what you want to see. When you enjoy certain content, ask yourself whether it is simply entertaining you or whether it is also enriching your life (the best content does both). Welcome silence and lengthen the stretches of time where you aren't consuming any content at all. Take complete days off of content consumption and just see what happens.
It may not be easy, but it is absolutely within reach for every one of us. Just as there are many producers of healthy food and approaches to healthy eating, there are many of us who are producing content that will help us confront the challenges of this age of attention. But it will only happen if we embrace the current media landscape and create what we need to thrive in it.
Join us. It might even be fun.