Media Consumption Habits

We spend a lot of time to learn how to use digital tools effectively for marketing and business — or at least try to. Yet, we often dedicate little time to understanding how we use digital media and the web and figuring out better and more effective ways to use them to our advantage.

Intuitively, we know that to get anything done, we need to balance reading with doing. In an interview on digital literacy tips and tricks, Howard Rheingold talks about:

  • attention — […] attention to information—what I call infotention—is the first literacy that the others depend upon
  • crap detection — […] It requires a kind of critical thinking—thinking like a journalist or detective. It isn’t rocket science, but it does require an attitude that isn’t often taught by parents and teachers.
  • participation — […] unlike the dawn of the Web age, there are forces that seek to enclose, control, and force people to use templates for participation—Facebook foremost among them. We need to continue to train people to participate outside the boundaries forced on them by Facebook and other apps.
  • collaboration –[…] Knowing how to use media to work together has become an essential skill; those who know how to do it will personally benefit, and those who don’t know how to collaborate with digital tools will find themselves at a disadvantage.
  • network know-how –[…] Understanding how networks work, how social capital is formed, how to analyze networks, and how networks are replacing hierarchies politically and economically also advantages those with knowledge and disadvantages those without it.

And provides guidelines to understand how each is being tested and learn to overcome challenges. He also says:

Everything I said above is true, but is multiplied by the migration from the desktop to mobile. Next up: finally, technology catches up with the dream of virtual reality and many of the attention problems will be multiplied and a new issue of distinguishing digital and physical reality will enter. More and more commercial and political interests are learning how to use digital media to deceive and manipulate—much faster than people are learning crap detection.

His top tips for parents and teachers apply to all of us:

  • Encourage critical thinking. Ask students to find questionable and reliable websites and tell you why they are.
  • Encourage attention to attention. When you open your laptop in class or look at the screen of your phone, try asking yourself why you are doing it.
  • Encourage participation. Comment on a blog, make a correction on Wikipedia, reblog on Tumblr.
  • Encourage collaboration. Work on a collaborative document, participate in a virtual community.

Read the full interview here. Rheingold is the author of Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.

How we think about things has a transforming effect on what we do. Choosing what we read and think about is a great place to start. Every Sunday, I send out Learning Habit weekly. It includes new posts, articles around the web, and books I’m reading on topics ranging from business, technology, culture, creativity, philosophy, and psychology.

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