My media journal started off with me meticulously detailing when, where, and what I was consuming, as I consumed it. I was idealistic in assuming I could do this for a full week with no problems — by the weekend, I found myself consuming media left, right and center and forgetting to record it.
Luckily, I had my browser history to pull from to fill in the gaps and I found some interesting — although not entirely surprising — results. Yes, I spend more time than I should on Facebook. I also spent an extraordinary amount of time on LinkedIn and GitHub this week, which I thought was interesting. Upon reflection, though, this makes sense: 1) I’m job-hunting and 2) I use GitHub for one of my other classes.
I also found my media consumption to center around a few events — I tend to find a subject and read lots about it, rather than read about a large breadth of topics. This week’s topics were dominated by Kanye West and Gilmore Girls (as tempted as I was to hide certain browsing details, I kept them in).
I combed through my Chrome browser history, taking a look at the history file on my computer, which is stored in sqlite format. I ran a few simple queries, like the one below to get the percentage of my browser history that was social media related:
where "last_visit_time" > 13099253131722513 #timestamp from a week ago
and "url" like "%facebook%"
or "url" like "%twitter"
or "url" like "%github%"
or "url" like "%linkedin%"
From this, I was able to get the percentage of links that were Facebook, Twitter, etc. You’ll notice that this doesn’t measure time spent on each page. I actually thought that this was fine, as throughout the week, I noticed I’m not one to scroll through Facebook too much – I just take a look at the top stories on my feed and then exit out — and probably don’t spend longer than 2-3 minutes per visit unless I’m messaging a friend. If I really wanted to, I could estimate the time by calculating the number of times I hit Facebook in the past week multiplied by my average time spent per visit (e.g. 401 visits to Facebook –> 16 hours, which is terrifying to think about).
Another aspect of media consumption I looked into this week was seeing where I found the articles I read. Did they come from Facebook? Twitter? I found that most of them came from Twitter and links shared from a friend through Slack.
Interestingly, I found that beyond my social media consumption, my media consumption is largely driven by email. About 50% of my media consumption came from email! Related, but not necessarily media (which, by my definition, was communication for an audience that wasn’t private) was that I spent a lot of time on my calendar, organizing and adding appointments with peers.
To track my mobile phone usage, I ended up conceding to phone battery to determine which apps I used to consume media. This is obviously a skewed metric — Snapchat uses much more data to transmit photos/videos compared to Twitter, which is much more text based. I found that I used Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter and Facebook the most on my phone, which is consistent with what I thought my mobile media consumption would look like. I also read about 75% of articles on my phone compared to the 25% I read on my computer. Because I tend to use my computer to either code or write extensively (and use my phone in almost all other cases), this also makes sense.
But enough of SQL code and words — I wanted to try my hand at infographics, so I decided to put together a couple of short ones: one for my computer media usage, the other for my mobile media usage.
Notably, these graphics and my earlier discussion doesn’t track any media that wasn’t consumed on my phone or the computer. I did read one print publication this week, which was my school newspaper, The Wellesley News. I also listened to roughly 150 tracks on Spotify, 50 tracks on SoundCloud. With regards to TV consumption, I watched a couple episodes of Mozart in the Jungle and the first four episodes of Billions.