After having to write some thoughts about media consumption for one of my classes I just thought that I'd share them here as well since they relate so well to the blog and my future as an English Teacher.
Our personal media use is made up of both consumption and creation. The balance between them is a fine line that is sometimes difficult to maintain.
It wasn’t until after I returned from my mission that I finally got a smartphone. Going straight from almost no technology use to having the entire world wide web at my fingertips combined with what seems to be a naturally addictive personality, you can understand why I struggle a lot with my media consumption. Some days I spend way too much time on Facebook or Instagram. I wonder how much of my life that I could get back if I would just put my phone away where it was out of reach and out of sight. I’ve never really set guidelines for my media consumption and that’s probably what gets me in trouble. I’ll be watching a movie with my husband and he will suddenly pause the show because he realizes that I’ve been staring at my computer or phone for the past 5 minutes instead of following the plot on the screen. It’s something that I’m always trying to work on and improve!
On the other hand, despite my bad media habits I feel like I also manage to create media in ways that are productive and enjoyable for me. Being an English major, I naturally love to read and I’ve always wanted to share that love of reading with others (part of what drives me to be a teacher). Last year I started this blog on which I post my own writing about literature, about the books I’ve been reading lately, really just anything that relates to reading or English. I’ve found it to be an outlet of expression for my love of reading as well as a way for my friends and family to engage with me on that level and keep up with what I’m doing. Creating media and sharing it with others is something that I enjoy doing here.
Finding a balance between consumption and creation seems to be something important that I should work on. To some degree we can control what media we consume from a wide variety of sources, however, it is limited to just the media that is already out there. We can only consume it if someone else has created it. When we are the ones creating the media, it gives us full control over exactly what types of media we are consuming and how we are consuming it. Frequently the creation of media is what gives us energy and helps us connect with others while consuming media frequently drains us of energy and gives us “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) or “Facebook Envy” or “Facebook Depression.”
Both our consumption and creation habits define us and I can see many ways in which this combined balance has been detrimental or beneficial to me in my life. As a teacher, helping my students to understand the difference between passively consuming media and actively creating it will be an important part of teaching in my classroom.