In the spirit of the 2009 UCSD study of information consumption (“How Much Information?”, assigned for Monday, August 29), I would like you to keep a rough log of your own media consumption practices for 5 days, beginning as soon as tomorrow (8/25), but no later than next Monday (8/29). This means that you should track what media you consume, on what device(s), and for how much time for these 5 days. The mode of documentation is up to you, but you might want to use an app like RescueTime (the free version is fine) to track your computer and cell usage, and manually track things like TV/movie watching and print reading. You may also decide to further break up your computer and/or cell phone usage into categories like “reading for class,” “browsing the internet,” “social media,” “TV/movie watching,” “listening to music,” etc., or even just “work/school-related use” and “entertainment use,” if you feel this will provide a better picture of your media consumption habits.

After your 5 days is over, you will total up your times and create some kind of visualization of your consumption habits. You can use programs like Excel or the free web-based service Tableau for this, or even just produce your own hand-drawn graph or chart. See pg 11 of the 2009 “How Much Information?” report for an example of what I mean.

After tracking your information consumption and producing your visualization, write a post reflecting on this process, on your own media consumption practices and habits, and on their connections to this class. Some questions you might consider as you write include:

  • Did any of your results surprise you? Why or why not?
  • Has this exercise caused you to change or rethink anything about your media consumption habits?
  • Is reading a “lost art” today, as David Ulin claims? Why or why not?
  • What are the differences between reading print and reading online (if any)? Why/how might such differences be significant?
  • Is the book dead? Why or why not? Is this question useful/helpful? What might a question like this miss or fail to take into account?
  • What does it mean, in light of this assignment, to think about books as a kind of media? Does this change the way you think about books and/or your media consumption, and if so, how?

Please note that you do not need to answer all of these questions in your post. They are only listed above to get you thinking. While your post should focus on how your media consumption log relates to the concepts we’ve been discussing so far in class, what you write about is up to you.

Your post should be around 500-750 words. You should also submit your media consumption log visualization with your post (if you’ve made a hand-drawn graph, just take a picture with your phone and upload that to the site). If the site tells you that you can’t upload an image because of size restrictions, you can just email the image to me. See the WordPress codex for information on including media into your posts.