I realised recently that I do not enjoy one of webcomic that I’ve been habitually consuming for the better part of the last decade. The webcomic didn’t change or drop off in quality or anything, my interests just changed.
These days, I read the strip, say ‘meh’, and go on with my day. It’d be roughly equivalent for me not to read it.
Then I realised that this comic strip was a microcosm of a lot of media online, particularly YouTube. I frequently half-watch a lot of low effort content that people are pumping out daily for money. I just put something on whilst washing dishes, or whilst I’m eating, or even just to fall asleep listening to. I just put this stuff on to occupy my mind.
It doesn’t really “matter” if I miss a big chunk of it whilst my concentration is elsewhere, because it doesn’t matter in the first place. If it mattered, it’d have more than a partial fragment of my attention.
I’m not watching/listening to it to enjoy it, or think about it for any longer than the duration that it’s playing; I’m watching it because it’s easy.
I suppose this kind of ‘disposable media’ is like junk food; it’s easy to consume, has an in-your-face ‘flavour’ that lacks subtlty and depth, but is low in nutrition. It doesn’t substitute for an actual meal (in this analogy, an actual meal would be a lovingly crafted film), it’s just something… ‘extra’… that you have that you could happily skip.
And this kind of media is skippable. As I said - it’s disposable media.
(NB: There are other people online using ‘disposable media’ to refer to media that is only relevant at the time of production, like topical discussions. I’m not using this term in that context.)
Nobody is having revelations from the kind of comic or YouTube videos that I’m talking about. I doubt it actually adds much to anybody’s lives at all. Perhaps with the notable exceptions of the creator and the advertisers.
(NB: I’m not saying there isn’t ‘enlightening’ content on YouTube or that there aren’t interesting webcomics - just that there is a lot of ‘low-effort’ content.)
So I don’t think that it matters if I enjoy that webcomic, or the plethora of pointless YouTube videos. That isn’t why I’m watching them.