Timothy Young, founder of Socialcast has written a thoughtful essay in which he compares information consumption habits to food consumption habits. Young laments the all-to-popular modern media diet of non-stop minutia and buzz-worthy memes, and wonders how to curb “infobesity”. One way towards a more healthy media diet, he theorizes, is to develop some kind of rating system akin to the nutrition facts labels found on food.
Recently, I have been thinking about how our food consumption and information consumption habits actually closely resemble each other. Just as food is the energy source for our bodies, information is the energy source for our minds. Our body’s health is heavily influenced by the quality of our nutritional habits. Consuming foods high in fat, sugar, and other unhealthy elements can lead to a variety of health problems, causing a deterioration of one’s quality of life. Similarly, if we have a poor information diet (i.e. consistently watching reality TV and internet meme videos), our mind’s performance, clarity, and ability to achieve goals can be severely negatively impacted. Although network TV and comedic YouTube videos are fun, they can also be addicting like a sweet sugary snack. Consume too many of these snacks and you will soon find yourself gasping at the scale in disbelief. However, the rate and ease of access to these sugary information snacks has only increased in recent years.