Digital nutrition and our online diets

food and a mac computor

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     ISB   |   Culture     🕐 17. Jan. 2019

What we consume online is aptly being dubbed ‘digital nutrition’. Recent studies have shown that many are consuming more digital ‘matter’ than what they eat or sleep per day [and night], so what does this mean in terms of nutritional input?

While discussions about digital content consumption have been ongoing for some time, this week Edith Zimmerman started asking just how much ‘junk’ that entails exactly.

Mainly drawing on a recent essay on Medium, Zimmerman wonders what the content of the Cut would like like when broken down into food terms. An amusing concept, but also one that carries a surprising amount of weight when considered in light of how much time the average consumer spends ingesting and digesting digital content.

This amount reaches a staggering 12 hours per day on average. That means the time spent on digital content has amounted to more than the numbers of hours we sleep or eat.

According to Michael Phillips Moskowitz, the supposed breakdown looks less like a pie chart and “more like a cluster of hovering, clickable symbols in the site’s corner” indicating what effect the content has on its consumers.

Moreover labels such as good or bad will likely not be precent, and instead focus will be placed on indicating a consumer’s experiences through clever use of icons [as part of a new type of labelling system] he says to Zimmermann.

Another aspect presented in the essay by Moskowitz, which was co-written with Hans Ringertz from Karolinska Institute's 'Department of Pediatric Radiology' in Stockholm, is that the different ways and attitude in which we approach our digital diets play an important part in how we perceive its contents.

A clear parallel can be drawn between that and our current food routines, Zimmerman finds. She then asks in jest if that means “if my “breakfast” routine better than my friends’?”, and if Facebook content consumption can be related to gluten-free food trends.

While no explicit nutritional guidelines are provided for consumers to apply, looking into ones diet is clearly being recommended by people ‘in the know’. That may warrant some serious reflection, as diets often become fads, but  nutrition facts remain fairly consistent.

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