iPad too? Six simple rules to moderate your online media diet

I put off buying an iPad until I could answer a simple question. What the hell am I going to do with it? With an Apple desktop, a wireless card equipped laptop and an iPhone, I’ve pretty much got the global/mobile thing nailed. But in my line of work as journalist a fourth devise in small package with an easy-to-read screen could come in handy while gathering and sharing stories online.

After fighting every single early adopter impulse in my body I resisted the urge. But finally I decided to make the purchase in a mid-year resolution of sorts.  I want to use this tablet device in order read and support the work of high caliber journalists, spend less idle time on the Internet watching crap and consuming a healthier diet of online content that supports the highest aspirations of my active lifestyle. So like millions of people around the world I bought an iPad too.

             I’m a big believer in the transformative power of the Internet. But like anything in life when consumed to excess the news and information we receive online can often do more harm than good. We have so much content coming at us minute by minute in a constant flow I’m sure that there are a great many important details that I miss and few that I devote adequate time to.

With this new iPad2 I want to change that by doing a better job of reducing and regulating the quality of content I digest online. And I hope I can get a few of you to offer your suggestion on exactly what I’m looking for. Here are a few basic rules I intend to follow over the next few weeks as I create a healthy online media diet.


  1. Keep it local
  2. Look for global implications
  3. Define your personal interests
  4. Engage in thoughtful interactions with others
  5. Find the fun in the frivolous
  6. Be prepared to pay for valuable resources


I’m open to other suggestions on good online hygiene and I’ll more firmly define each of these rules as this project progresses. Before the iPad comes out of the box I want to go into this new experience with dedicated purpose. And as I intend to improve the quality of my own online content I hope that those who follow along will join in the conversation and share their ideas.  ~ JEM

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

  • Bkaplan

    I started out almost by accident when Delta finally paid me for an iPod and Bose headset one of their employees stole from me. It’s really best used to get content rather than generate it but is an everyday part of my life. I read the new York times, BBC and huffington post before getting out of bed in the morning.. Since I have an ATT version with great international service it’s great on foreign trips to keep up with work since it syncs with our exchange server. I can check and respond to email while sipping coffee in Buenos Aries. Every travel hotel in the remotest places has a computer in the lobby for guests with a line of people waiting . The iPad is the perfect solution. QBP is using them for their outside sales force and that will increasingly replace laptops in the business world. Our IT guy only uses an iPad.

    • Thanks for the comment. We should connect on AT&T international cell service. It wasn’t an option in Africa. And even in Canada I find it frustrating.

  • Michael

    I also work in the journalism field as a writer and editor for a set of leading paddling magazines. I definitely see the value of the tablet we use around our offices in order to consume, create and share media content.

    Numbers 2) through 6) on your list of guidelines as well as Bkaplan’s suggestion to get (I’m inclined to add share here) content rather than generate it, are recommendations I agree with. Number 1) doesn’t sit well with me. While keeping it local is fantastic advice for those looking for sustainable goods consumption logic, I feel you’d be short-changing yourself if you applied the same principle to information consumption. I agree it’s important to know what’s going on at home but not at the expense of just plain knowing what’s going on.

    In the outdoor field, the writing field and indeed most fields, innovators and innovation happen across the world. People accomplish awesome feats, share advances and collaborate on initiatives from far and wide. I consider myself fortunate to have access to these ideas through such networked resources and the potential to learn and understand more than ever.

    While I respect that finding information on the internet can often be like taking a sip of water from a fire hose, practicing good online hygiene, as you put it, along with some prudence and common sense, we have the opportunity to be global online citizens and celebrate and reap the benefits of disappearing barriers to improve what we’re doing closer to home.

    I’d love to understand more about your theory of keeping your online consumption local. Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks for the reply Michael. My thoughts on local media consumption are simply to support the newspapers and magazines close to home and insist that they provide aggressive coverage of the issues that directly impact you and your neighbors. I used to write regularly for the local paper here in Madison and I’ve seen how the small newsrooms suffer in a global media economy. Subscribing to the hometown publication is just like buying from your local farmers market. That little investment can go a long way toward hiring dedicated journalists that will tell the important stories of the day. The alternative is homogeneous national news with an emphasis on issues import primarily to large urban centers. News like politics should always be local.