9/52: We become what we consume

The internet is shaping who we are.


Each week for a year, I’m going to be designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the ninth design of fifty-two.


The first reference to “You are what you eat” was in the 1860s. But today, I think it’s more accurate to say that in the age of the internet, we become what we consume. Our attitudes, our temperament and even our well-being is significantly influenced by what media we consume online.

I watched last weekend as the events in Charlottesville unfolded. And there were Nazis — Nazis! — marching with torches on a college campus. And then followed by more violence the next day and the death of a counter protester.

Look, I’m not going to blame the internet for Nazis. They existed long before the internet. But I think many of the young adults that showed up in Charlottesville were fueled and amplified by what they saw online. Or more precisely, what they chose to seek out online.

The Nazis are an extreme example of this though. Today, I feel like all of us are shaped by the media we consume. If you only watch Fox News… CNN… conspiracy websites… Twitter… cat videos… hate-filled rhetoric… you slowly become what you consume.

…having a well-rounded media diet makes us all better, happier and healthier people.

The internet is full of content. Funny and serious. Factual and false. Some articles and videos are thoughtful and well reasoned. Some content is shallow and inflammatory. I’m not saying you need to only watch serious, long form content from reputable sources. But I am saying that having a well-rounded media diet makes us all better, happier and healthier people.

This week’s shirt is “We become what we consume.” And yes, the lettering is reversed and upside down on purpose. Our eye flips everything it sees.The brain then corrects it for us.

"We become what we consume" is available at Threadless in a variety of colors and styles.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.