Going Slower… in More Ways Than One

Inspired by Slow Food, a lot of people—including me—have suggested that it’s better for our brains, bodies and society when we read, communicate, and get the news at a more sustainable pace. Slow values transformed how many of us make, buy and consume food. Could slowness improve our information and entertainment ecosystems, too? Here are some key conversations about adding a dose of slowness to your mediated life.

Media & Culture class

Students in the “Media & Culture” class (JOU 109) at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University will be contributing to this blog during the Fall 2009 semester, to share their thoughts on some of our readings, assignments and experiments.

One of the experiments we did this month was a Media Abstinence Day, where everyone was supposed to avoid cellphones, computers, TV, etc. for a whole day. Some students reported that they managed to do it! Some got through most of the day, perhaps with minor slip-ups when they checked a text message out of habit or accidentally started watching some TV when someone else in their house turned it on. A few people said they were miserably bored and made a conscious choice to give up the experiment early.

The people who did best on this assignment were those who picked an avoidance day when they had something else to keep them busy, like playing a game of softball or working at a job that doesn’t involve computers. They also found it helpful to warn friends and family in advance that they would be unavailable, so they didn’t feel as much external pressure. (Though at least one student said that his friends taunted him with their smartphones and laptops, trying to bump him off the wagon.)

Members of the class will be posting their essays about the Media Abstinence Day below.

Students should click here to give midterm feedback.