Thursday, April 30, 2015

Media Binge Vs Media Fast

As a class experiment, we were asked to overload ourselves and be plugged into as many devices as possible at the beginning of the week and then to be completely isolated from all media devices as much as possible. Many of us in today's society, myself included, spend majority of our time plugged into one media device or another. Whether it’s music, texting, TV, movies, news, or email we are constantly indulging in some form of media.

The first part of the experiment, the media binge, was not so different from any other day for me. I use my smart phone for almost everything considering how busy and on the go I usually am. While working, going to class, and studying I find that music and social media are the two main forms of media I use at almost all times. With the little leisure time I do have, I usually spend it watching sports, shows, movies, and reading news on my phone or laptop. I'm not a huge gamer, but I even went the extra step during this part of this experiment to play as much Xbox as possible.

One thing that I found interesting among my daily practices is the fact that majority of my communication with friends and family is done using social media. Of course, there a few select people I actually have face to face interaction with, but with all of my family being 45 minutes to an hour or more away I have no choice but to use media devices to interact with them. This actually mad me kind of sad. The idea that I have basically no choice but to use media to connect with the people I consider closest to me kind of scares me at times. For that reason, I would say things like social media and smart phones are very important to have within our daily lives.

The other side of the experiment is what I found to be the most difficult. Outside of reading textbooks for class and the occasional book or magazine I don't typically read anything that isn't on a media device of some sort. This came as no surprise to me, but it was quite a challenge. Once I finally came to terms with the fact that media devices were off limits, I actually found the fasting to be somewhat refreshing. I paid more attention to things outside, whether I was walking or driving. The fast kind of put into perspective some of the things we've read in class about how social media for instance is slowly making us less social and more distant. I’m personally too busy at times to connect with friends and family in person, so that unfortunately has left some of my relationships with those people weaker.

Ultimately, after taking part in this experiment I have found a truer meaning of "taking time to smell the roses" throughout my days and week. I've seen where I can be less plugged into media devices and better utilize that extra time to study without distractions. I often times thought listening to music while studying helped me focus, but when I studied or did homework in silence I actually found that I retained more of the information I was reading. While I sometimes have no choice but to use media devices within a given day, I now know what the benefits of unplugging myself from them are. The key is finding the best way to achieve balance between when I need to be plugged in and when I don't have to rely on using media as a way to accomplish things no matter how big or small. I would say this experiment was very insightful and I’m better for having taken part in it!

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