Thursday, April 30, 2015

Today our society is more connected than ever before. In addition to our books, radio, and television, we have an unprecedented amount of data literally at our finger tips. Our smartphones can access the internet and have far more processing power than the super computers of old. So as a kind of social experiment, our class went on a media binge and then followed with a media fast.
            The goal of the media binge was simply to be on media constantly. Whether that included listening to music, watching television, or browsing the internet, we were to be constantly connected. I spent a significant amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I also read on my Nook, watched Netflix, played more Playstation than I should have, and constantly listened to music. This bingeing was actually difficult to maintain. For a time it was relatively easy, but soon it got tedious. I distinctly remember constantly updating my social media to see if there were any new posts. Yet the desire for new posts was only part of the problem. It eventually was just boring, and I longed to talk to an actual person. Also my eyes, hands, and posture did not enjoy the constant usage of media devices.
            The media fast was very refreshing after the constant bingeing. For this, we were to avoid media as much as possible. Our interactions were to be in person, and other time was to be spent doing physical activity, eating, and sleeping. Looking up and seeing people was so much more fulfilling than looking at a screen. It felt liberating to not be connected constantly. I did occasionally want to get on my social media and see what people had posted or get on my phone and text my friends I didn’t see that day. I also particularly missed reading. Of course, I still had to use my computer for school and work, but this was inescapable.

            In conclusion, my experience with the media fast and binge has led me to see both the costs and benefits of media. It can destroy barriers or build them. The best use of media, in my opinion, is to use it in moderation. Connect, but don’t be constantly connected. Text that friend, but don’t be on your phone all day. I am more conscious of my own media use now. I try to make the most of the time I am on media, but I also remember to put the phone down and enjoy the world.

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