Thought of the Day: Media “Snacking,” or Something Else?

As the ever-pseudo online sociologist that I pretend to be, I’m constantly pondering psychological and sociological reasons for the current state of media. Today, as I returned home from Philly, I picked up a copy of this month’s Wired magazine. I found the cover feature to be pretty intriguing: the notion that we’ve become “snackers” in our media habits. The feature is also online, so you can go and check it out.

An excerpt from the main text by Nancy Miller:

Today, media snacking is a way of life. In the morning, we check news and tap out emails on our laptops. At work, we graze all day on videos and blogs. Back home, the giant HDTV is for 10-course feasting – say, an entire season of 24. In between are the morsels that fill those whenever minutes, as your mobile phone carrier calls them: a 30-second game on your Nintendo DS, a 60-second webisode on your cell, a three-minute podcast on your MP3 player.”

Thinking about this, I begin to wonder if this is truly “snacking.” While I’m constantly searching for small bits of information, I’m also getting something much more substantial: highly personalized content all delivered to my inbox. It’s not just bits, because there’s a wealth of substantial material.

Also, “snacking” is not new. The human brain loves things that are short and punchy. And we’ve always gotten our news like this: think about the typical evening news program. All the news segments are in short form, typically at a 5 minute length.
In contemplating this all, my thoughts are that the main thing that’s changed in how we consume our news is what some call the “CNN Effect.” Rather than news being published only in the mornings with the paper, and in the evenings with the evening television news, we’re being constantly bombarded with new information. My belief is that we still haven’t figured out the best way to consume this type of news without being media “gluttons.”

What’s your take? What do you think of this “snacking” idea, and are we news-edly obese?

~ by Brad Levinson on March 12, 2007.

One Response to “Thought of the Day: Media “Snacking,” or Something Else?”

  1. […] time can actually be more. I’ve realized that while I didn’t think I was, I was snacking. I’m realizing that I need more red meat, and less of the […]

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