media diet.


I was looking through some information on Flowing Data and came across this post. In a 2009 edition of Wired magazine, illustrator Jason Lee depicted their recommended servings of screen time for “optimal media health” for Americans based on the data reported in a NYTimes article released by the Council for Research Excellence. The article specifically measures media consumption, so I assume it excludes most interactions with computers in a workplace setting.

In relation to the actual collection of data, one interesting fact to note is that the data is not based on what people remember watching but was collected in real time. But “when subjects in the study were asked to recall their behaviors, ‘people underestimated the amount of time they spent with TV by a substantial amount,’ about 25 percent on average” (NYTimes article). And they underestimated other media use as well.

First of all, I understand how media time can compound, but this research shows that on any given day over 50% of our waking hours are spent consuming media. When studies like these are released, I’m not sure how people can argue that media has affected society. And based on our underestimation of our screen time, we are either in denial about how we spend our time, or are so conditioned to be constantly consuming, and even craving, media that we don’t even realize the extent of our intake.


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