Digital Junk Food

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Digital junk food describes information that is waste of time and is useful to one's everyday life. Not only is the intonation designed to make you want more of it, but it doesn't provide any informational value, so your brain is deprived of meaning and still wants to consume something of worth or mental value.

The promise of fast food is that it requires minimal effort and time to order, receive and consume. What Reichelt noted was that humans were "expending almost no energy at all on getting to grips with this info, it's just there to take it all in if we want". [1] Humans have stomachs that tell them when they are full, but the human brain did not evolve with that feeling. One must be mindful of intake and the effect it has on one's mental processes.

We evolved a limit in our stomach to tell us when we're full, but not our brains to tell us when our brains were full. Anyone who has seen someone compulsively check an activity stream of information on their phone has a right to feel that these streams can become addicting. And rightly so, ambient intimacy is not a replacement for real-life interaction. It is more of an atmospheric communication, a set of small moments that are not intended to receive full attention: moments in the periphery. It is only when these peripheral moments become excessive and primary that they become digital junk food.

Related Reading


  1. Leisa Reichelt. Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson. Published Oct 2007. Accessed Oct 2011.