My Information Diet

information diet social media facebook
A photoshop version of my information-stomach.

My boss, Terry, handed me a copy of this last week’s Adweek magazine. I was surprised at how relevant I felt its content is. Some of the articles covered how generating and manipulating memes plays a huge role in today’s advertising world. What I loved was the piece at the end of the magazine called “Information Diet” where they feature celebrities and their information technology habits. I thought I’d share mine. I don’t claim to have particularly good habits, but you have to start somewhere and then feel secure enough to branch out a little.

Here’s my information diet profile. (It’s based completely on Adweek’s, but paraphrased the questions.—I may be a copycat, but I am not a plagiarist.) I’m very interested in how this will change a year from now, five years from now.

Name Katarina Countiss

Demographic female, mid-20s, urban, student

Topics of Interest graphic design, communication, art

Base Seattle

1. Before anything else, what information are you absorbing?
 My Facebook feed. But, that isn’t very informative until you know who I’m subscribed to. I get daily posts from Seattle advertising agencies, my favorite blogs Boing Boing and Laughing Squid, my favorite magazines, Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose, Jen Graves (an art critic from the local alternative newspaper, the Stranger), some “Pic-spawners” (facebook pages that deem it their sole function to share stunning or funny pictures which may or may not have sentimental quotes on them) and my friends, graphic design classmates and old high school acquaintances who seem to be procreating at a faster rate than I am. (Yes, I come from a town like that.) I’ve recently subscribed to some web design blogs that produce links to interesting (and sometimes not) responsive design tips or photoshop techniques.

2. a: During breakfast?
 Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It doesn’t really matter what order they’re in. Sometimes I groan a little because they run the same story, though Colbert’s theatrics are funnier.

2. b: During lunch? After spending so much time looking at a screen and to the fact I  have no web capable portable devices, I am reading a book. It’s usually a nonfiction book related to graphic design, psychology, advertising, linguistics or communication or it’s written by Haruki Murakami.

3. During your commute?
 If I am in a car, it’s the radio. I can’t read in a moving vehicle.

4. Any TV shows? TV, laptop or tablet?
 I’m actually a recovering television addict. I used to watch a lot. I find that any show that I watch one episode and it’s either all or nothing. If I like it,  I feel compelled to watch everything that ever existed for that show. It’s a huge time sink. So, I’m reluctant to watch any shows for that reason. I’m currently on Star Trek: The Next Generation. There’s a bunch. It takes up so much space in my brain. It’s a weird thing when I am reminiscing about a childhood memory, I realize all of the people in my memory are Klingons and I think, no… that can’t be right.

5. Before bed?
 See #1

6. What would you recommend, Web or Print?
 I saw a piece of advice that said “If you are young. Read a nonfiction book a week. Considering that your peers are gaming or facebooking, you’ll be a genius in comparison.” or something to that effect. I agree. It’s due to the level of focus on the internet (or lack thereof) that I think it’s difficult to retain web content (because the way it’s usually absorbed: slightly distracted). I exclude TEDtalks and other similar presentations. They’ve done their research on what’s engaging to make a lasting impression.

7. What’s your favorite app and why? I haven’t really delved into the App world. I am still hoping that responsive web design will evolve to the point where people wonder why apps evolved in the first place. But, I like Evernote. It helps me index my links when I am in a hurry. But, I’ll probably find a better system soon.

8. What’s your current digital addiction?
 I’m currently into failblogs. Mostly Failbook. It really gets me when people are being smartasses to Walmart on Facebook, but then they turn it around so fast, your browser gets whiplash. (I will never know about the times that Walmart, or other social media involved corporations, are mediocre.)

9. How do you combat information overload? When, how do you “skim off the top”? That moment when I am looking at a feed (facebook, twitter, whatever) and I think to myself: did I feel annoyed? That feeling usually comes up when I see a link to a facebook app or a status about breakfast or something trivial like that.


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