In January 1999 I broke up with my television. I was a recently single mother of a two-year-old child and I knew if I had that dammed thing in the house I would succumb to the temptation to put him in front of it. So I could cook supper without him grabbing my legs and screaming for my undivided attention. So I could have a moment to myself. I also knew that if I had a television in the house that it would suck me in — and set the agenda for my thoughts and dreams. And I could not afford to be sucked in.

We survived. Liam, my son, drew a lot and played with Keva planks and Playmobil and Lego (the old-school plain blocks, not the crappy new over-engineered co-branded sets). He’s 11 now and writes beautifully, has excellent grades, and consumes books at an alarming rate. He approaches playing tennis and piano with an amazing level of focus and discipline. I believe that this is due, in part, to the fact that early on he became a producer of content, rather than a consumer.

Iíve been thinking recently about consumption and production. I believe that producing — creating — is a revolutionary act. And I have been pushing myself to create. To make things. To write. What you’re reading now, and this web site, is a result of that push. It’s important for each one of us to engage, participate, and share.

I ran across this video yesterday, of Clay Shirkey speaking at the Web 2.0 conference, held in April 2008 in San Francisco, which touches on some of these ideas. It’s 15 minutes, and well worth your time. You can also read the transcript of his speech. Let me know what you think.

5 Comments

  1. Zach
    October 26, 2008

    I’ve re-read this post several times (I don’t often do that with blog posts). I never thought to differentiate between consuming and producing media; it was always just one big thing that in some small way I was a part of.

    Now when doing something, anything, I now try to consider whether I am consuming or producing, trying more to do the latter.

  2. Christine
    October 26, 2008

    Hey. Thanks for letting me know. Yes… I think about this a lot. I was formed in the consumer generation. Just sit there and take it in. Passive. But now the remix generation is emerging: active, engaged, participating. Sure, we still watch, listen, and read. But it’s a conversation, not a lecture. You may be interested in this post that Patrick sent me on Generation C.

  3. kevin
    October 26, 2008

    Christine, I think your insights are amazing. I believe that the main reason for not using more of our minds is due to the way we are domesticated. great write.

  4. kevin
    October 26, 2008

    “A screen that ships without a mouse, ships broken” I love that line.

  5. sara
    December 16, 2008

    wow, that video was good! so inspiring. i’m gonna get off the internet now and go do stuff. :)