Tracking Personal Media Patterns

How many hours a week do you watch, read, listen, or play? What are your media habits and how do they fluctuate? What factors affect your weekly allotment of info gathering, studying, and entertainment?

For an interesting project on this, see the work that RobWittig did with the NC State graphic design grad students a few years ago.

Several of you did a quick list of media use in Imaging III—how have things changed since then?

posted by Tony Brock on January 18, 2005 | comments: 6 | post a comment

Most of the time that i spend during the given week is usually on the computer. Rarely anymore do i watch tv more than three-four hours a week during school (not surprisingly becuause i do not have cable but more importantly because i am spending more time on the computer returning emails, organizing folders of projects (and music!) and documents within my desktop, within itunes, trying to learn more about the everyday software programs that I work in: Flash, DW, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc) I even prefer to spend my time learning shortcuts and other nifties about the operating system in which I work. I constantly visit the apple website and go to their quicktime page, to see if there are any new movie previews out that i haven't seen yet. I might sign onto AOL IM to see whose online, and sometimes just to see what other people are doing (via away messages and buddy profiles.) I try to make sure that my operating system and all of the software programs therein are the most up to date with what's available. I choose to do this most of the time over any other activities (other than getting out and exercising and more recently good old fashioned reading) because that is what my life is about—creating and designing on and interacting with the computer user interface. I would say this habit is a stark contrast to my lifestile two years ago, where easily I would have said that television, even during school, would dominate the majority of my daily activity (Specifically playing Halo on XBox for hours at a time on teams with other friends). I enjoyed playing with friends for those long periods of time, but there was not production in it, other than getting better at the game, for me. Today, as a designer learning and experimenting on a computer dominates probably 75 percent of my waking day, sometimes more or less depending on the day and time of year. It moreover dominates my life during the school year when I am immersed in the software programs that we work in to complete our assigned projects. In the summer time I am more active with other things, (like surfing and slacking off), but I most certainly will check the away messages of friends and talk online for a good part of my day, and check the latest movie previews the apple quicktime site regularly.

Posted by AL3X L on January 18, 2005 07:40 PM

my computer has become an essential part of my daily activities, so much that a hint of panic develops in my stomach when the at-home internet connection flakes. email replaces the daily phone calls that used to dominate my day a few years ago. after i wake up in the morning, the ritual includes waking up my laptop to read the news, emails, and see who's up with me...

the question of playing versus watching and reading and listening—the distinction cannot clearly be defined for me, as all of the above mentioned are enrolled in constant interaction.

Reading a book on the side has become a difficult task, as I am overcome with some sort of guilt when spending precious hours behind a soft cover. Instead, news sites and blogs have slipped in between. This does not keep me from my outdoor runs or walks. I find nature to be the single most inspiring source there is. It's all there.
i also watch at work, trying to peak at how the art directors work. it made me very happy to hear how they chat about everyday love affairs such as the new Flaunt magazine, or a typeface discovered. having said that i am starting to really feel at home in my skin. not that Mrs Eaves (chewed out example) would be an important topic of conversation, but the passion for all things design lingers and defines where home is.

final words: hooray to link sharing :•:

Posted by carolin on January 19, 2005 04:47 AM

being in studio the past few years has really changed my interaction with media. now many of us spend hours working with AIM or mail hidden in the background. and what if that little notifying red dot appears on your dock? minimize illustrator. maximize mail. mm, yes. the distraction of media. even my cell phone has taken back burner to AIM or email. if i want to have lunch with my sister, i'll email her from work and say "you there?" knowing that i'll have a response within seconds. media controls my communication. don't deny it. you've all messaged someone on AIM while you were both in the same room. we do it at work, i do it in studio. theres no denying our pathetic lack or f2f communication. last spring, our class even talked about the communication we had online. the massive posting within 3-4 days. would the conversation have been different if we'd had it together in STUDIO rather than on a digital space?

we talked a lot about being a master of media. we, the students, the youth, that are consumed with media... we're the ones that master media. we are so comfortable with the everyday use of an ever-changing thing, that we are not distracted by it. instead, we absorb, observe and analyze. whether we realize it or not. and often, i'll find myself sending links via AIM to fellow studiomates to share the beauty of a sexy flash piece or clever navigation. its all about sharing, isn't it?

so i'd say playing & browsing take a majority of my time. i often take a 5 minute break from work to surf a favorite blog or message board. its a breather. instead of going out for a smoke, i choose web. i mean, its a lot less harmful to the lungs. who can resist?

Posted by m. blume on January 19, 2005 04:59 AM

since being back in school, i've found it interesting to note the differences between my media use and people just 5 or 10 years younger than me. i'm 32, and i'm fairly resistant to excessive digital media use for someone my age. i'm not really a fan of all the distractions for the users and those affected by the users. i also feel that if someone wants to talk to me so urgently, they can come and find me. i don't have a cell phone, don't do aim, i don't go to chat rooms or watch movie trailers, but i did have a pager for a while. it's kind of crazy how plugged in students are, from waking till bed, and i think it reflects the fast-changing nature of technology development. i wonder what the 12 year olds are doing these days...

to answer the question, i'm on the computer for good chunks of the day--more when i'm in production mode towards the end of projects. i mostly just "work" on the computer, but do keep my email open, and check my account several times a day while at school. at home i maybe check once a day--sometimes i forget. i tunes running a lot of the time, except when concentrating hard. so, computer the most, then probably writing notes in my sketchbook. i find i write more than draw nowadays--describe things, write crit comments, etc. then probably reading for my seminar class like 3 hours a week. then a smattering of misc outside reading, but all for school. last is t.v. mostly for a mental break. three or four hours a week probably. more on weekends to relax. an occasional movie or dvd on the weekend to relax. enough...

Posted by tyler on January 19, 2005 07:08 PM

Its a common theme for us graphic designers to be continuously connected to a computer. We use it for work, play, and to contact others. Since, I do not have a working computer at my apartment, when ever I am home I feel a slight disconnect from the outside world, even though i have a cell phone, a land-line, a tv, a roommate, a car, and neighbors. Why is that? Are we getting lazy? I do find myself sometimes depending on the computer for things that I could do through other means, it just seems easier to get it all done at one place. Most of my time is either spent on the computer or sleeping, my favorite past time. As of this semster I have also been reading a lot more, which I have been trying to motivate myself to do for a long time. When I have the free time I love to watch televison, especially movies. It's a nice break and gets my mind off things that might be bothering me.

Posted by Colleen on January 20, 2005 05:06 PM

My laptop is almost like my buddy, he goes where ever I go. :) We complete assignments, check emails, web surf and chat on aim. My laptop is very important, in many ways it has taken the place of the tv. However, I still get in about 4 hours of television per week. During my free time I spend my time drawing, painting, sleeping and trying to motivate myself to READ. Drawing helps me get my mind off of things, especially the many projects in studio.

Posted by Candace on January 24, 2005 05:46 PM