The Polaroid Philosophy.

Do you remember the days when things were limited? When you might buy one new album of music every couple of months? When you had to buy photo negatives by the roll and be careful what you used them on? When there were only two channels of television? When there was one newspaper to read? When you had to go to the library to get your hands on a new book to read?

Today we are inundated with media options. Some people say it’s too much. Some people say we are oversaturated. Some people say all of this content is making us less appreciative.

Photo by Andrew Saltmarsh

I’m starting to agree. I remember appreciating music much more (or at least it seemed that way) when I’d buy a new album rarely and then listen to it over and over and over, becoming familiar with every nuance, every note. Today I still love those albums. Putting them on gives me the feels, releasing an oxytocin burst of the warms and fuzzies. Is it somehow due, at least in part, to their familiarity?

Perhaps less *is* more.

Over the last decade I’ve become something of a miner bird, foraging on bits and pieces of media all day long – a song here, a song there, this blog, that blog, 10,000 Twitter feeds, 1,000 Facebook feeds, 100 books on my iPad, watching YouTube clip after YouTube clip, TV torrents by the bucketload – from dawn until midnight. And it’s not limited to the media I consume, it also extends to the media I produce. I might take 10 photos a day and several videos. I tweet. I Facebook. I blog. It’s too easy to produce gallons of crap.

Less is more.

What if I limited myself?

I limit myself in other areas of life – eg I only eat ice cream (and sugar free at that) on weekends – what if I limited myself digitally as well?

What if I limited myself to taking one photo every day? If I’m only allowing myself one photo, it had better be the best photo I can take.

What if I limited myself to listening to one album of music every week? No more shuffling. One album. I’d have to listen to it over and over until I knew the grooves inside and out.

What if I limited myself to writing one Tweet / Facebook post per day and writing one blog post per week? I better make sure they are good.

What if I limited myself to one episode of TV per day? One YouTube clip?

What if I reduced my Twitter feed to ten people? The same with Facebook. They better be the best feeds I can find.

What if I reduced the feeds in Flipboard and Zite to only one or two? Would it make me choose what I read more carefully?

I’m going to treat my media consumption and production with the Polaroid philosophy. I’m going to force myself to set artificial limits, a media diet. Because I really do believe that less is more.

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