Sunday 4 September 2022

Nerd Church - Constantly Consuming Content


'Constantly Consuming Content' with a funky background

'We've got mountains of content
Some better, some worse
If none of it's of interest to you, you'd be the first'

- Bo Burnham, Welcome to the Internet

There's a lot of content out there, a lot of media, a lot of art, a lot of whatever you wanna call it.

There's a lot of it.

My TBR is over 900 books, and I've given up ever taming it. 

My web bookmarks and favourites can only be described as chaotic. 

My Netflix, Disney+, Sky box, and YouTube are overflowing with things I want to watch, only to get distracted by something else on the home page and end up watching that instead.

There are so many excellent people whose work and art I wanna see on blogs, socials, whatever...

And there's too much of all of it for one person to consume.

Which means I have to prioritise which books I'm gonna read, which TV shows I'm gonna watch, which music I'm gonna listen to. And... how?

Does anyone know?

How do you pick one drop out from a river?

'Could I interest you in everything
All of the time?
A little bit of everything
All of the time
Apathy's a tragedy
And boredom is a crime
Anything and everything
All of the time'

- Bo Burnham, Welcome To the Internet


I'm beyond Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) by this point - I know that I will miss out on something, somewhere along the way.

But how, amongst the whirl of modern media and life, do we manage to get what we want out of the infinite choices we're presented with?

I honestly have no clue.

There is So. Much. - And there's more all of the time.

And I want the good stuff. Not 'cos of FOMO - like I said, I'm beyond that. No, I want the good stuff 'cos it's there, and just waiting for me to get in over my head and overwhelmed by it all.

I want to be in it, amongst it.

I want to go swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck in his gold room.

Scrooge McDuck diving into his gold room and spitting out coins when he resurfaces
Via Giphy

'And I feel like I'm out of touch
Keep thinkin' I need that crutch
Keep thinkin' I need that rush
I just can't break the habit, can't break the habit
Runs in my head, dopamine addict'

- Alec Benjamin, Dopamine Addict 

But I know that it is not healthy to be constantly consuming content 24/7, 365 days a year. 

For a start, we need to eat and sleep and shower etc. etc.

But also - we're just not built, as humans, for that level of constant and unending intellectual stimulation. 

We end up in a flurry of more, more, more as our weird little monkey-hooman-bean-brains search for dopamine hits.

As I've said before, and I'm sure will say again:

We need breaks.

We need to slow the hell down sometimes.

We need to hit pause and just STOP.

...if only from time and time.

But where does that leave those of us who like to create things?

Those of us adding to the never-ending piles of books, blogposts, videos, movies, TV shows, songs...

Should we just... stop? 

*shudder* I'm not a fan of that!

But it's undeniable that, in the infinite oceans of content we now have as a society, it's never gonna be easy to get that attention to turn to our own individual creations.

The days where the audience had limited options are never coming back.

'I am an artist, please God forgive me
I am an artist, please don't revere me
I am an artist, please don't respect me
I am an artist, you're free to correct me'

- Bo Burnham, Art Is Dead

...But how the hell do we figure out what to consume, what to create?

I feel like we should try to make our time matter - but not in an overly-worthy 'everything must be a masterpiece' kind of way.

Sometimes the least 'worthy' of materials can have the deepest meanings.

And the meanings that matter to us - the comfort of a favourite TV show, the appeal of something fun, the fascination of the macabre - they're what really matters.

'How can you sing about love when the kids are all dying?
How can you sing about drugs? Politicians are lying!
How can you sing about sex when the school is on lockdown? Lockdown!'

- FINNEAS, The Kids Are All Dying

I don't have the answers - would I ask this many questions if I did?

We all just have to try to make the most of what we have - and sometimes, probably more often than we think, 'making the most of what we have' means taking it slow. 

And not just consuming - but thinking, experiencing, instead. 

This took several tangents! 😅

Did any of it make sense?

Do you know how we can prioritise our media consumption?

Talk to me! 😘💬

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  1. I'm gonna be talking about my OCD for this comment so just a content warning:

    My overconsumption of media is 100% related to my OCD/intrusive thoughts. I feel like I have a list as long as my arm of tv shows and movies that I *have* to watch. But the thing is, I don't have to watch them, I just feel like I need to because if I don't, something bad will happen. What that bad thing is, I have no clear answer, but I feel like if I don't, something will be incomplete, off. It's such a weird compulsion and something I've been working on in therapy, with exposures such as not watching any tv in a whole night, or stopping an episode ten minutes in and picking it up in two days. It's difficult stuff, and this is not to say that you have OCD of course or that anyone who does this has OCD, it's just interesting how media can take over a busy mind.

    1. CW: Anxiety

      *hugs* You rock, Em. Just, like, in general! <3

      See - I have the opposite problem. I watch like 10 minutes of something, and then I *have* to stop and let it like... 'breathe' for a bit; let myself process it. Sometimes it's directly Anxiety-based, like if it's high-octane or highly-emotional or whatever, but sometimes it's just... I can't.

      And I don't know how to explain it. I also get really stressed about what the thing's 'supposed' to be like - the more I'm looking forward to something, the more I stress that it won't be what I want it to be. ...Which is one of the reasons why I'm only 1 episode in to series 3 of The Umbrella Academy, and why I try to avoid things that are mega-hyped! Lol.

  2. I can relate to this so much. I get overwhelmed by all the books, films and TV shows out there that I really want to read or watch but just don't have the time for. My Kindle library is out of control. I want to put the world on pause sometimes and catch up with everything.

    1. I know, right?! If you find any hacks for dealing with it, let me know! :)


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