Content can be used as a synonym of internet. Internet is nothing without it. Content has made lives for both its consumers and producers.
“What consumes your mind, controls your life”
All of us consume and produce, not a single living thing (not only humans) around us could oppose it, that’s natural. Observe clearly and you’ll notice, we are a reflection of what we were taught or behaviours that we learned through observation.
And, what we learn and observe are the result of our consumption. So, we can simplify it by saying, We are what we Consume.
This article is specifically about “Content Consumption”. All of us consume content, who would not, especially in this generation.
Which is why, we have to be aware about how it impacts us, and how we can use content consumption effectively for our betterment.
Consuming content is helpful in many ways, entertaining content reduces stress, educative content makes us knowledgeable, and almost every type of content has value with it.
But we must not ignore the fact that most of us are slave of mindless consumption. Research shows that consuming content mindlessly could affect us negatively, filling our brain with unneeded ideas or over consumption of entertaining content will be the core reason for our behavioural change and our unproductive lifestyle.
By reading, listening and watching we allow information to enter our brain, that’s the same route for content as well. (content is also an information)
The one sentence summary of this article is, consume content that will encourage you to grow in an area which will help you to accomplish your goals.
Why do we consume content?
Our main intention to consume content:
- Feel better
- To distract
When watching that video, series, instagram profile or reading a book, article, etc. Do we ask ourselves why am I watching or reading it?
Yes, we know why we consume content, but sometimes we’re just not hundred percent aware about them. For eg. Sometimes we watch movies, series or listen to music to distract ourselves from stressful thoughts or to forget some bad moments.
Sometimes we do same things, with intent to learn something. For eg. We’ll read books because we have an exam next day, we’ll watch a video to learn something from it, etc.
Important thing to note is, their differences, the former situation is driven by our emotions and later by our awareness. When we drive into consuming content emotionally, we could end up brainwashing ourselves. Whereas, if we consume content with intention, we will truly be able to learn something out of it.
Channels of Content Consumption
Main ways from where we consume content include:
- Social Medias
- YouTube (also social media but very broad)
- Books, etc.
Social medias are very clever, they will show you what you like, from your history and your retention on specific posts. Which is why getting bored of social medias is tough work and needs higher self-control. As a result we mostly end up watching things that are not valuable to us, i.e wasting time.
You must watch The Social Dilemma documentary to understand more behind the scenes of social medias.
How consuming content will affect us?
It is responsible for several changes such as, our conversations, behaviours, our ability to make judgement and making a decision. This is because whatever we allow to enter our brain, comes out in such forms. For eg. if you consume content in a specific language chances are you will use that language more often while communicating.
Tip: To learn a new language, consume content in that language.
Content and Conversations
We find ourselves more interested in conversations that are related to type of book we were reading, show we recently watched, person we are following on social medias. And we choose conversations based on what we have been consuming recently.
Because of that, sometimes (while communicating) we express ourselves with type of content we are consuming. Kardashian’s gossip, IND vs PAK cricket match and shifts in crypto industry are few examples of content and conversations.
Because of that, sometimes we demonstrate completely different sides of ourselves and are not able to make deep connections with people we talk to.
Content and our behaviour
Our behaviour changes with what we choose to consume. You might have noticed, after watching a horror movie, walking in dark feels terrifying. If we read philosophies we would behave more like a philosopher (talk more around life). If we follow and consume more cringy influencers, most probably we’ll behave like them.
Content and Decision Making
From a broader perspective, consuming content directly doesn’t affect our decision making, our experiences and knowledge does. And while deciding something if we haven’t experienced the same situation before, we head to internet to get knowledge about it and internet is full of content. It could include deciding on a winter vacation trip, deciding to read a book (see reviews), to wake up early, deciding to learn programming (search for scope, guides, tutorials, language, etc.)
Advantages & Disadvantages of consuming content.
We can trick our brain to consume content that will push us forward, for that will need self-control on instant gratification, sometimes we consume content after promising to only watch for 15 mins. And end up watching long and then regretting it.
Content consumption has several benefits as well, only if we use it the right way.
- We can choose to learn/sharpen a skill by consuming videos, reading books or listening to something around it.
- Manage stress and anxiety by consuming some entertaining content.
- We can produce our own content around our experiences by consuming it. (posting videos, writing books, etc.)
- Works best to find a solution for any problem.
- We can understand a person’s personality based on what type of content he often consumes (vice-versa).
- It can distract us from reaching our goals if consumed mindlessly.
- We might even get addicted to specific type of content.
- Overconsumption will change our psychology. That said, we might end up brainwashing ourselves.
- Lot of our time is wasted, if we get nothing out of it.
What worse can happen to us than wasted time and changed mentality. Those are core values that we are gifted with.
What to do? What is the right way of content consumption?
“We’re all now connected by the internet, like neurons in giant brain”Stephen Hawking
Very clear point to note is, none of us can keep ourselves detached from content. So what we can do is, use content in a clever way.
Our brain can adopt anything we instruct it to. Now it’s up to us that what we instruct.
3 Steps to consume content right way
- Make a specific goal: Decide what you want to learn about, what
skill, what habit to build, what type of content to produce, etc.
- Remove non-relative content: Go to all social media and use the don’t recommend it button, unfollow distractive creators who don’t relate to your goal.
- Start filling brain: Now add content related to your goal that will guide you to reach your specific goal.
Don’t cheat yourself during this process, instead reward yourself. Initially you will not feel fun. But it will take some time for your brain to make it default consumption. Till then you can reward yourself by watching content that you like by deciding to consume it for specific time only.
Overconsumption of content impacts us negatively. We start wiring our brain to think that way which shrinks our ability of making effective results.
You will notice two types of content consumers, 1. Mindless and 2. Aware
Mindless consumers are pushing themselves to mediocrity, they stay unaware of why they are watching, reading or listening to it.
Aware consumers have clarity over what they are doing with their time. And what they want to get out of consuming content.
Tip: If you find yourself as a mindless consumer, why not divide your time, decide a goal (can be anything, learn a skill, complete a course, etc.), follow above steps. As starter, you can spend 50% time being mindless and 50% as Awared consumer.
When we realise, value of time and notice we were wasting it, that’s when things start changing.