on life, ambitions, and dreams


Create vs. Consume

Plane Crashes & Love Messages Simon Pais-Thomas

A friend and his girlfriend have a neat idea—they spend an entire day, one day a week creating things and consuming nothing. It can be anything, from learning how to play the drums to painting and even cooking together counts. But there’s one thing they won’t do, and that’s consume; be it other people’s food, watch movies, surf the Internet, engage with media, etc., it’s all off limits. Their focus for that day is to spend time together creating.

These friends are on to something that a lot of people are already talking about. How do we “turn off” everything that’s happening around us and find that delicate balance between information overload and comatose consumption so we can emerge like the beautiful and unique snowflakes that we are—intelligent, original, and full of life. If you listen to the debate, they all declare that we should shut down the distractions so we can open up the flow. Simplified: create more, consume less.

Exactly what they’re asking you to create and what counts as consumption is open to interpretation. Back in the day before social media, the word “consume” most often meant capitalist consumption, you know, shopping and buying “stuff.” Today, it’s most often referred to as consuming content published and shared across digital media, you know those damn tweets, frequent Facebook updates, too many blogs, obnoxious articles, and incriminating photos, etc.

When speaking about digital media and the call for everyone to create more and consume less, I can’t help but cringe. Imagine if the entire world decided tomorrow that they would all start writing and blogging and not read anyone else’s blog ever again. What’s the point of creating if no one is there to consume what you share? Is that what pro-creators have in mind?

I am one of the 23% of US adults online who create content on a daily basis. I do this professionally and for fun. For people who are in this similar position, I have an alternative challenge for you—spend at least one day a week where all you do is consume and participate in what other people create. Check out from your normal routine and give what you hope to get back.

Do you think you could do it?

Photo Credit: Simon Pais

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  • Wow. This is a great idea. Our lives need more creation. What better way to get more of it than to set aside a day for it? Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Thanks, Sam. Let me know how it works if you try it. Better yet, blog about it?

  • Anonymous

    You’re killin me, woman, not having a tweet or Facebook button after your postttsssssssssssssssssss. :p

    • Ah, crap. I’ll work on that. Thanks, Ash.nnFor now, copy and paste one of the “reactions”–? Extremely lame, I know.

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  • I think this makes great sense, and is exactly what I was blogging about today on my site, why people don’t comment on other blogs. Great piece, happy to have found it since someone linked it to my post.

  • Ruth Scovill

    Hi Laura, I enjoyed your article. I’m just starting a blog, I like the idea of having a balance between creating and consuming, and how it is important to comment on other people’s work. These are good thoughts for a beginning blogger, not quite ready to go public.nnI have also been reading a book called Blog! by David Kline and Dan Burstein that talks about how blogging is creating a cultural revolution. It is an interesting book because it starts out about how blogging influenced the 2004 election. That makes it feel like a history book at first, even though it is only 5-years old. Later it branches out into business and culture. Then it feels really up-to-date. What I like about it is the wide range of people and experience that they introduce through interviews.

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  • Either do one or the other. Great post!