Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

#2 Consume Better Content

We are a people of insatiable consumption; a hungry lot who can’t ever get enough content.

It’s not entirely our fault. Entire systems are built on this behavior. Capitalism and industrialism lead to rampant consumerism, each feeding on the other.

Our Internet habits, for example. Endless scrolling was not created by a happy accident. It’s completely intentional. Social media companies thrive on endless scrolling because the more content we consume on their platform, the more ads we see. And the more money they make from those ads.

The problem with these little tricks of the trade (like endless scrolling) is our brains are being rewired. Thinking gets shallow. We think less.

I stopped for coffee on a road trip the other day. The seats were full of consumers. People of all ages on smartphones and tablets scrolling through content on various social media platforms.

There was one guy reading a newspaper.

I’m not saying the newspaper guy is smarter or better connected than the rest. I’m not saying a newspaper is inherently better content.

I am saying that we need to consume better content.

There are two ways to do this:

1. Long-form content

Train your brain to pay attention for more than 7 seconds. If the only content you consume are Tweets and Instagram photos you’re not allowing yourself think well and critically about issues. Rather than taking in more political memes, go to the library and grab a book about political science. You can read inspirational leadership tidbits on Twitter, or you can download articles about various leadership nuances on Google scholar. Look for articles that go deep, rather than the ones that just hit the high points.

For the next 118 days, consume at least one form of long-form content.

2. Analog content

This gets your brain out of “scroll mode.” Subscribe to The New Yorker or Harvard Business Review. Go to the library and check out a book made from dead trees.

Don’t misunderstand. I love my Kindle. I take it with me pretty much everywhere. I’ll be on a lot of airplanes in the next month, and this is down and dirty “read time” for me, and I’m grateful that I don’t have to lug 30 pounds of books.

But I do try to consume analog content every day, if for no other reason than to break the scroll instinct.

These are a couple of tips for consuming better content.

What about you?

Think about the content you consume?

How will consume better content in the last 118 days of 2019?