Balance Your Media Diet

In today’s digital world, here’s what works well for getting clicks:

  • Lists of quick-hit tips
  • Images
  • Shock value
  • Salacious gossip
  • Outlandish claims

It’s fun to click on “10 Celebs Who Have Not Aged Well” or skim shocking headlines to have something pithy to say at your next cocktail party. It feels sinfully delicious to escape reality by watching The Real Housewives of Whatever or skim sexy–but inaccurate– tabloid headlines while we get our nails done.

But all those tiny, harmless choices come at a cost. We’re losing out on a diet balanced with substance, truth and intellectual growth.  (TWEET THIS!)

Please take a moment to read Seth Godin’s recent and very important post. It’s all about the price society pays when we constantly sacrifice substance for style, in-depth analysis for a quick-read or hard word for ease.

Let’s get real: We can’t be academic, curious or “serious” all the time, I get it. Heck, I enjoy my crime dramas, game shows and renovation “reality” shows as much as the next gal.

But we do need to be clear that our choices have consequences on the culture as a whole. On our own mindset. On how we see “the truth” and on how our next generation learns how to fully contemplate, assess and explore.

Our tiny individual actions may not change things overnight…or ever. But every time you turn on that reality show where people are just awful to each other, or buy that clearly false tabloid, or even sign up for that expensive program that promises you a get-rich-quick success scheme, you vote with your time, energy, money and attention. You vote and support that behavior. This is why I absolutely refuse to watch any of the Real Housewives franchise or shows about toddler beauty pageants or whatever. They may be hilarious and entertaining to some people, to be sure, and those people may think I should lighten up, but I just don’t want to support the impact to our culture. That’s my own personal choice.

Am I reading War and Peace every night or diving into scientific journals? Hell no.  I’m not some sage or martyr about this issue. It’s simply a reminder to always be conscious of feeding our intellectual curiosity. A push to keep seeking out truthful stories, accurate claims–and to question all sources. How incredibly healthy your hearts and minds would be if we simply balanced the candied-apple guilty pleasure articles and wickedly clever Tweets with documentaries, nature programs, well-researched articles that are longer than 500 words and by listening to true leaders and great minds.

PS, for a nice mix of both cleverly entertaining and extremely factual reporting, follow Scott Bixby.

My pledge to you, dear reader. I will never offer you hype or sensationalism. Only practical and inspirational advice that educates you, helps you see things differently, or consider something you had not before, boosts your spirit or sparks your creativity. Will it make you a million dollars? Maybe, maybe not. That’s not for me to say….or claim. Yes, clients have taken their brands to the next level with my advice and teachings. And others have done nothing. It’s the way it goes. It doesn’t give me permission to make more outlandish claims to get attention or build my audience.

All I can do is offer you the very best knowledge and insights that I can and help you move forward. This should be your pledge as well: to create something of substance that matters. Something with integrity, honesty, and real value. Served with a side of splashy style, if you can, of course. I mean, we gotta have some fun, right?

Image via Flickr

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