“Slow Foxtrot Media: One medium at a time”

A newspaper in Montreal recently ran this article contemplating Slow Media, or — as Babelfish has mysteriously rendered it — "Slow Foxtrot Media." (Maybe Babelfish is also psychic? I do like Wilco…). It's interesting, too, that "solitude" became "loneliness." Though I speak French real good, the Babelfish translation below is more fun than mine would be. I've cleaned up the English text in just a few places to improve clarity or accuracy.

By Nathalie Collard, La Presse

Some read the news on their
cellphone while driving, others cannot be prevented from checking their
emails at the restaurant or are straightforwardly unable to exist
without spending hours per week in front of their computer to sail
on social Twitter, Facebook and other media. In a world where the
multitask became the standard, and where our capacity to concentrate is reduced like peau de chagrin, a citizen movement is asserting a more moderate
and balanced consumption media. After the Slow Foxtrot Food, the Slow Foxtrot Media.

For one year, in her
course of journalism at Long Island University, Jennifer Rauch has
tried an experiment with her students. Initially, she proposes to them one
complete day without media. “For some, it is quasi insupportable,
tells Rauch, united by telephone. Several said to me that they had been
unable to do it until the end. Not to go online, not to use their
cellphone was beyond their power. They were afraid to miss something. Of
course, they were wrong.”

Rauch is a pionnière of the movement Slow Media which gains slowly
but surely followers a little everywhere in the world. The Slow Foxtrot
Media is neither antitechnology nor antimodernity, it is a movement
which wishes to draw attention to the frantic rate of our
consumption of the media and its perverse effects, and which asserts a
certain hygiene of life as to their use.

Continue reading ““Slow Foxtrot Media: One medium at a time””

The discovery of the digital tardiness (and my new nom-de-plume, Jennifer Smoke)

The German public radio network, ZDF, ran this great snail photo with its recent story about Slow Media, which follows below (as translated by Babel Fish).

On-line Filmer Kirby Ferguson wanted to deslag – mentally. Thus he did
not meals or alcohol, but without speed in the Internet. Slow Media is
called the movement from the USA, which sloshes now also to Germany.

The rules are clear: In the Internet surf is forbidden – exactly the
same as blog, News feeds, television YouTube, DVDs and Twitter. The
computer use and the multitasking are reduced. Maximally 30 minutes
private emails per day are permitted. Okay is " everything that ist" on
paper; , as well as radio, Podcasts, cinema. And a Hintertürchen gives
it: A daily Blog and Facebook update are permitted.

Ferguson brakes

It is an experiment, which Kirby Ferguson at the beginning of the yearly places itself. On-line
Filmer made of New York is " Digitally Native". He says of itself: "
Most of all I make everything gleichzeitig."

Facebook, Twitter, a blog,
YouTube, RSS feed – Ferguson goes through everywhere. And as like that
is in a Blog Facebook Nabelschauwelt: He observes himself thereby. And
it states that its concentration frays that its thoughts constantly fly
away to him.

Continue reading “The discovery of the digital tardiness (and my new nom-de-plume, Jennifer Smoke)”

Is there a “Slow Media Movement,” or is it just me?

"South Park" creators Matt Stone & Trey Parker made this animation, featuring Zen philosopher Alan Watts, that criticizes the culture of busy-ness.

Communication is a zero-sum game, to me. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, all the time I spend with one medium is time I can't really commit to another. People like to think that they can multi-task, but a lot of limitations come into play. You can listen to NPR while you type your blog (as I'm doing now) but blogging can't be performed simultaneously with writing a postcard (my next task). Also, the quality of my attention to the radio is pretty low right now; Terry Gross' guest sounds vaguely like Arianna Huffington but I couldn't tell you what the topic is.

To appease my longing for analog media, I've started toying with the idea of doing a digital media fast. All the time I spend online now will be devoted instead to postcards, letters, and whatnot. This will require a lot of substitution: landline for cellphone, fax for e-mail, record player for i-Pod, etc. Essentially, I'm going to pretend that it's 1989. In trying to come up with a term for this category of media that I'm trying to reinvigorate, I came up with "analog" and "anachronistic" before settling on Slow Media, in the spirit of Slow Food and the attendant Slow, or Slow Living, Philosophy.

As it happens, a quick Google search for "slow media" shows that other people have spontaneously generated the same concept and made the same connection. Helen de Michiel, a filmmaker who produced "Turn Here Sweet Corn" in 2001, links community-supported agriculture to the "slow media practice" that she espouses. Matt Shepherd, who seems to be a comic-books kind of guy, asked last year whether Slow Media was "a movement or a menace" and concluded that it was neither. He considers hand-written letters,
books/comics ("especially local authors"–analogous to "food miles," perhaps?), conversation groups, theatre,
and live music to be slow whereas fast would mean "cell phones, movies, the Internet, recorded
music and Clear Channel-type radio." I have my own ideas about where this boundary should be, so 'll have to get back to this definition in a future post.

I've mentioned my digital media fast to people a few times, and most of them seem to think that I'll be depriving myself of the Internet and cellphones. But it feels more like liberation than deprivation. As Matt Shepherd noted in his blog, "Saying 'Hey, cell phones suck' is not nearly as interesting to somebody as presenting a positive alternative." He also points out the irony of fostering a Slow Media Movement online but hey, what else are we gonna do?