Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Rethink Screen Time In Terms of 3Cs: Consumption, Creation and Connection

Yesterday I was listening to the latest podcast episode of The Happiness Lab: good screens and bad screens. This episode features guest Catherine Price, the author of How to Break up with Your Phone.

She provided some good tips on how to make the best of screen time during the pandemic, as we're all hunkered down and reduced to screens for work and communication.

Catherine also mentions how she thinks about her screen time. She thinks of it as 3 Cs: Consumption, Creation and Connection.

This is intriguing to me.

I can't help but wonder what the percentage of my screen time goes to each of the C. It's evident most of my time is in consumption: reading news, blog articles, watching Netflix/YouTube/AmazonPrime, and surfing Chinese-language forum, taking online courses, and checking Instagram feed (as mentioned in a previous post, I deleted Facebook in 2013 and never looked back, though I still kept Instagram and Twitter).

Next, Connection. Catherine didn't define what she meant by connection. I assume it's using the phone to connect with other people. It probably includes text messages, phone calls, FaceTime chat, email, etc. Catching up with acquaintances on Facebook also counts, in my opinion. I spend maybe a couple hours a day on Connection, between texting my friends, video chatting with my family in China, and emailing with my professional connections.

The last bucket: creation. This is what gets me thinking. I always feel some sort of imbalance in the way I use the Internet. It's hard to articulate. Just feel like something is missing and not quite right. Then it dawned on me yesterday that it's the lack of using screen time for creation. Some people might never feel need to create. But with the amount of input I take in everyday, I felt a genuine desire to share out my perspective with others. Creation can take so many different formats: blogging, podcasting, exchanging view points on forum, etc.

The thing with using the smartphone is that it's a great device for consumption, but no for creation. At least it's hard for me to compose a blog post or anything meaningful on the small screen.

I might spend the new few days brainstorming a few screen time creation ideas and share back!

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