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Slow Movement

01/14/15 . UCI Trend Lab

What’s the Trend:
A wide range of global efforts focusing on quality over quantity to address issues of “time poverty” in all aspects of life. It is a “Cultural Revolution against the notion that faster is always better.”(1)

What’s New:
The Slow Movement began with the founding of Slow Food by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986. As a reaction to “fast food,” Petrini promoted food consumption in a leisurely manner with the use of fresh local foods and sustainable farming techniques. He and others soon realized that slowing down and re-focusing attention in other aspects of life could be a benefit as well. Carl Honoré, author of “In Praise of Slow,” points to this beginning of Slow Food as a key moment which helped the word “slow” become re-envisioned as something positive.(2) “Slow” has since branched off to include Slow Relationships, Slow Exercise, Slow Hobbies, Slow Work, Slow Travel, Slow Clothing/Fashion, Slow Education and counting.(3)

Slow is about seeking deeper connections. While the desire for and presence of connectedness is a basic need, technology has weakened the connections in our daily lives. The various labor-saving devices and technological advancements have not provided us with more time– people are still busy, overscheduled and stressed. The Slow Movement is about a return to strengthened connections. It is not anti-fast, but rather finding the appropriate amount of time to yield quality and long term benefits in our various activities such as when we cook or visit a new place or learn a new skill.(4)

Google understands the long term benefits of “Slow” demonstrated by its company policy that encourages employees to dedicate 20% of time to personal projects. Allowing employees to slow down and dissociate from the pressure of deadlines, they can truly let the creative juices flow by pursuing projects of interest at their own pace. Some of Google’s most successful and innovative products, such as Gmail and AdSense, were born during the 20% time.(5)

Most recently, “Slow Media” has begun to gain support by demonstrating the benefits of slowing down the news and media cycle. The Internet has become a place where people are hit with endless data, choices and possibilities, forcing people to figure out what they really value.(6)  Walter Shapiro of Politics Daily points to how quickly people become accustomed to technological advancements as part of the problem. He says, “Thinking, real thinking, takes as much time today as it did when the news was disseminated by telegraph operators.”(7)

Why it Matters:
Carl Honoré’s book, “In Praise of Slow” has been published in 30 languages, including Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish.(8)  However, akin to its name, the Slow Movement is not something that will boom rapidly over night. But rather it needs monitoring in how Hispanics in the U.S. will embrace the Movement and how it can potentially benefit their daily lives.

More immediate relevance can be found in closely exploring the Slow Movement’s impact on the media industry. With news, the desire to release stories first has trumped the need to be accurate. Walter Shapiro suggests slowing down by providing a “protected space” – whether on Internet or cable TV – for people to slow down, savor & contemplate news.(9)  This is in line with John De Graaf’s (National Coordinator for ‘Take Back Your Time’) notion that “democracy can’t exist with informed citizens,” and thus the Slow Movement helps give people the time needed to consume news while also being able to live healthy, happier lives.(10) This may begin to affect the way UCI and other media companies deliver news to its audience.

References:

  1. Honoré, Carl. (2014) “In Praise of Slowness,” Interview. Carl Honore Website. http://www.carlhonore.com/books/in-praise-of-slowness/.
  2. Honoré, Carl. (2014) “In Praise of Slowness,” Interview. Carl Honore Website. http://www.carlhonore.com/books/in-praise-of-slowness/
  3. “The Slow Movement.” (2009-2014). Create The Good Life. http://www.create-the-good-life.com/slow_movement.html.
  4. “The Slow Movement: Making a Connection.” (2014). Slow Movement. http://www.slowmovement.com/.
  5. Honoré, Carl. (2010, March). “In Praise of Slow Thinking.” Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-honore/in-praise-of-slow-thinkin_b_331843.html.
  6. Huffington, Arianna. (2012, June). “The Slow News Movement.” Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-slow-news-movement_1_b_1613631.html.
  7. Shapiro, Walter. (2010, July). “After Breitbard and Shirley Sherrod, We Need a Slow-News Movement.” Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/07/27/after-breitbart-and-shirley-sherrod-we-need-a-slow-news-movemen/.
  8. Honoré, Carl. (2014) “In Praise of Slowness,” Interview. Carl Honore Website. http://www.carlhonore.com/books/in-praise-of-slowness/.
  9. Shapiro, Walter. (2010, July). “After Breitbard and Shirley Sherrod, We Need a Slow-News Movement.” Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/07/27/after-breitbart-and-shirley-sherrod-we-need-a-slow-news-movemen/.
  10. Blake, John. (2008, June). “’Slow movement’ wants you to ease up, chill out.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/worklife/06/06/balance.slow.movement/.
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