Jeremiah Owyang started a new meme: The Media Consumption Diet. Even though Jeremiah didn’t tag me, his question interests me enough to respond. Here are my media inlets:
Feeds. Most of my inbound communications come through feeds. I like the way feeds are unobtrusive and by (my) invitation only. Spam does not exist in my feed reader, and nothing pops up in my face when I don’t want it to. I can give it just the amount of time I choose, when I choose. Less than two years ago, my feed consumption was zero. Now it’s my primary source. I prefer written posts over podcasts, since I’m a visual person who can read a lot faster than I can listen.
Web search and surf. Google leads me to lots of information. I’ve set up vanity searches in Google, Bloglines, and Technorati as feeds so I don’t have to think about them. I also use Wikipedia often, though I have mixed feelings about its worth. When I can’t find what I’m looking for, Clusty often surprises me.
Email. I try to move as much of my inbound email as possible to feeds, for the reasons stated above — the main one being spam. I have yet to find an email spam filter that doesn’t let a ton of spam get through, snag a lot of false positives, or both. And I get mountains of spam as a result of having my e-mail address posted on the web since 1997. Nevertheless, I still use email a lot — in fact it’s my primary means of communication with clients. I have some clients that I’ve never met or even spoken to over the phone. I’ve thought about setting up private blogs for client communications instead of using email, but I’ve never gotten around to doing anything about it.
IM. Instant messaging is very intrusive, so I only use it with a few special people (you know who you are). A while ago I dropped off of Windows Messenger in favor of GTalk. But apotheon tells me some good things about Gaim, so I’ll have to give that a look.
Telephone. The telephone intrudes even more than IM. I have to drop whatever else I’m doing and talk. Being a very visual person, I find it much more difficult to follow a conversation in sound rather than in writing. There’s no backing up to examine what was said. It gives you less time to consider your responses. If I could do away with the phone, I would. Unfortunately, many people feel more comfortable discussing things in voice, so I have to keep that channel available. But I let my answering machine help to mitigate the intrusions. Bless caller ID.
TV. I have no doubt that someday soon TV and the web will become one. In the mean time, most of the programming on TV doesn’t qualify as worthy of wasting my time. We have four TV’s in our house — two of them HD big screens — yet I watch maybe one hour a day, usually winding down with my wife in the evening. Until baseball season. Then that will change to about three hours a day, more on the weekend. Go Mariners, TD (who doesn’t have TV service)! I have a lot of respect for people who have taken TV out of their lives. I’m not quite ready to go there yet.
Music. At work I listen to jazz over Pandora. It’s much better than pre-programmed radio because I can tell it what I like and what I don’t like. It’s also better than just listening to our private collection of CD’s, because Pandora introduces me to new music that’s similar to what I like. Every now and then it makes a very wrong guess, but all I have to do is give it the thumbs down and it goes on to something else. In the car, I listen to radio (KPLU). At home we sometimes listen to CDs that we’ve owned for years. Every now and then we buy something we already know we like.
Books. I love to read a variety of books. Any genre, by any author, from any period. Check out my reading list since 1990. History, philosophy, and the classics top my favorites. Someday paper will become as obsolete as clay tablets and we’ll all be reading books online, and that will make me just a little bit sad. We’ll need leather-bound laptops (or whatever replaces them).
Movies. Every now and then we go to the cinema, but it’s such a waste of time and money. Much better to wait and rent the DVD. We can drink wine for half the cost of theater soda, and eat much better food. Pause for bathroom breaks. No sticky floors. No big heads seated in front of you. And nowadays the screen and sound quality are almost as good. That said, we don’t rent much either. Maybe ten flicks a year, at most.
Magazines go right into the recycle bin. I subscribe to none. This is a job for RSS. TCP/IP beats the Postal Service every time.
Newspapers. Why kill a tree? Feeds for me. The only paper we subscribe to is the local Bainbridge Island Review, and that’s only because their best parts aren’t provided online. And they don’t have a feed. Luddites.
Mobile. I don’t yet use my phone for web access, although I’m sure that will come in time. I turn on my phone only when leaving the house, so I can be reached in an emergency. I don’t use mobile for business, because if I’m not in front of my computers I can’t do much anyway. One day I suppose I’ll have a decent enough notebook with wireless internet, and then mobile communications will make more sense. But even then, I’ll need to have pockets of time when I’m unreachable, for sanity’s sake.
How about you? What are your media eyes and ears?