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?

“Workers of the World, Unplug!”

What does the Slow Media Movement have in common with Slow Food? Roger Buddenberg of the Omaha World-Herald explains this, and more, in his story about the digital backlash.

The article describes how people are giving up the Internet for Lent; students are taking stress-management classes to learn how to not be distracted; and coaches are taking cellphones away from players to improve performance.

Buddenberg also quotes a clinical psychologist who says that digital media is
"fundamentally ruining the quality people's lives" and jokes that he wants "to be the mayor" of the Slow Media Movement. (No Foursquare required for that!).

ISO: Electric Dreams from the Beeb

Does anyone know where to get copies of BBC television programs that aren't being marketed on DVD? I'm eager to acquire "Electric Dreams," this British reality TV show about a family that moves forward through time, living in different decades and using historically appropriate technologies from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Sort of like PBS's "Frontier House" but dynamic and, well, electric.

The producers are pretty obsessive about vintage gadgets but there's also an interesting focus on how media technologies affect family life. They wonder: Has technological progress always been for the better? Spoiler alert! Depends on who you ask. The parents seem to enjoy the experiment more than the kids…

You can watch segments of it on YouTube (as above) but I'd like a complete, intact version of it that I can hold in my hands because — as the attentive reader of this blog might have noticed — I am the kind of person who likes to hold media products in my hands. The person who finds a copy for me gets a free subscription to my blog!