Arianna Huffington Espouses Slow News Movement

First Slow Media, Slow Communication, Slow Reading… now Slow News and Slow Blogging?

"A world of too much data, too many choices, too many possibilities and too little time is forcing us to decide what we really value," Arianna Huffington writes in a recent post. "And, more and more, people and innovative companies are recognizing that we actually have a life beyond our gadgets."

It's telling–and no, not ironic–that a blogging behemoth like the Huffington Post recognizes the "longing to disconnect" from our "hyperconnected lives." Arianna suggests that an iPhone feature called Do Not Disturb designed to get you off your iPhone (?!) might offer some relief. (I'm a fan of just hitting the off button, myself…)

To give all props where due, let's also note that Politics Daily correspondent Walter Shapiro wrote an article a couple of years ago calling for a "Slow News Movement" as a "form of reader rebellion." Shapiro argues that meaning and context suffer in our faster-faster media culture, where people don't really have time to contemplate the information thrown at them.

"The news of government, politics and the world is too important to be instantly consumed like a shopaholic racing through a mall," he says. "Our democracy simply cannot survive if we fail to see the forest for the tweets."

Shapiro, who also clued me in to a hitherto-unfamiliar Slow Blogging proposal from Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post, concludes by asking readers if they really understand the world better by getting their news constantly in brief staccato bursts than they did 10 or 15 years ago, when news (even on cable TV) was packaged by editors.

So, do you?

Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Frequently “No”

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Here's a clever flow chart that explores the socio-psychological motivations of checking your e-mail. (Props to graphic artist Wendy MacNaughton for making this and other great illustrations.)

Happy Unplugging Day!

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A little humor in honor of the National Day of Unplugging (March 23-24 this year). Reboot, who promotes this annual event, even participated in panel discussions and threw an unplugged party at SXSW Interactive, where the Sabbath Manifesto pledge to avoid technology has been gaining support. (The pledge to drink wine seems pretty popular, too.)

Is it ironic that uber-connected people are getting unplugged? Of course not. You can love digital devices and still relish taking a break from them. Life feels a little flat when you stare at screens all day and again at night, during the week and then on weekends, too.

Hope you're enjoying life in all its dimensions with some screen-free time today…

 

Protest visionary: E-mail feels like “denial-of-service attack against my brain”

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Adbusters editor and protest motivator Micah White prefers people to send letters to his snail-mail address. His website reads: "Micah does not use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, et cetera. He reluctantly accepts e-mail at micah@adbusters.org."

 

Micah White, the 29-year-old Adbusters editor who helped spur the Occupy Wall Street movement, is not on Facebook, which he calls "the commercialization of friendship."

In a New Yorker article last month about the origins of OWS, White said that he used e-mail and Twitter only because he felt compelled to. He said that he believed in "the Heideggerian critique of technology, that it turns us into empty matter for the exportation of capitalism."

"All these e-mails — it feels like a denial-of-service attack against my brain," the Canadian told reporter Mattathias Schwartz.

Wortham redux: “Zine resurgence among the web-savvy”

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Photo courtesy of Tea Tree Gully Library. It's a city in South Australia, the undisputed land of Slow Media lovers.

 

Despite having access to blogs and knowing how to use them, people — even young ones — still like to make publications by hand. This according to a recent NY Times article re-titled "Raised on the Web, but Liking a Litte Ink" by Jenna Wortham (mentioned in the previous blog post), who also reports creating her own zines with friends.

Since the dawn of blogging almost a decade ago, there's been a print renaissance, experts said. “We’re seeing a flowering of print,” a librarian specializing in periodicals told Wortham. “People are drawn to the experiences of creating and collecting these physical objects."

A 23-year-old pseudonymous blogger — whom Wortham describes as "prominent" — said that he recently began publishing a zine because “It’s satisfying to produce something that people can hold and treasure and value partially for its physicality instead of something that gradually disappears (…) In 2011, it feels like a rare pleasure to hold up a bunch of pieces of paper that are bound together and read them, instead of reading off a screen.”

Amen to that.

(If anonymity has piqued your curiosity, click here for a story in Fast Company about Mr. Mystery's zine launch.)