Sara’s media diary

I used Rescue Watch to track my media consumption but was not completely satisfied with the detail of reporting I received at the end of the week. I would have liked more in-depth information about the sites I was visiting (rather than the top three per category), as well as how the program chooses what to classify as “news and opinion” vs. “references and learning” etc. Another problem with this program is I have a very dangerous tab habit in which I average about 40 tabs open in a browser at at time and they may stay open for weeks…so I think the time analysis per page was somewhat skewed,  Nonetheless, the snapshot view provided by the platform as well as some additional reporting and recording on my part provided me with a few takeaways:

  • Like most people, scheduling and communication, primarily on email and calendars, was the single greatest individual category of media consumption. According to Rescue Watch, it was 36% of my time and a total of 8 and a half hours over the course of the week. That actually seems pretty low to me and I wondered about the nature of the tracking. This did not include emailing and messaging on my phone. .
  • The rest of my top 5 was pretty expected – numerous course readings,  the New York Times and Amazon (streaming TV shows). I also spent 4 hours actually going to the movies (the perks and joys of a long weekend).
  • Digging a bit deeper into my browser history, while a significant number of the sites I visited were news and opinion sites, I spent far shorter periods of time on each page, meaning I am either a faster or more superficial reader than I thought.
  • My news consumption started daily with a broader reading across international, local, national news and arts sections (though perhaps limited in ideological perspective) and then became increasingly more narrow in scope and theme as the day progressed. This was because most of my clicks either came from social media where like-minded friends were posting on the issues that I care about or through the various thematic email newsletters I subscribe to (Latin American politics and human rights, media industry, freedom of expression and press freedom etc.). Besides the Times, my reading was very piecemeal with never more than one or two articles a day from the same news source. I realized through this exercise that while my daily news consumption may include a variety of sources, aside from the day’s top stories, the subject matter was generally more or less always the same.
  • The big surprise and rude awakening was the fact that shopping came in as the third ranked category on my rescue watch list. I am not a big online shopper so did a little more digging and realized the program was reading my Amazon time as shopping, rather than streaming content. Nonetheless, I did attempt to buy a couch online this week and this program laid bare all the wasted hours on this failed enterprise.
  • Main conclusions: unsurprisingly, I spend a lot of time writing and responding to emails, reading the news and going to the movies. My indecision means I should not be allowed to online shop for furniture.