Monday, December 14, 2015

Too much of a good thing

During the media binge I noticed that after a while that being on social media and the internet constantly it became uncomfortable. It was hard to consistently be looking at a screen all the time. I was on facebook frequently and after a while it became boring because I noticed a lot of repeat postings. I also posted a few more things than I normally would. Also during my media binge I watched a lot of netflix, youtube and learned a few new songs on the guitar.

I found the media fast quite a bit easier than the binge because I really don't use social media a whole lot. Normally I use it to simply kill time when I am bored. After cutting it out almost completely I found that I had a lot more time than I seem to usually have. It was easier to finish all of my homework and readings and I got them done a lot more quickly than I usually do. Maybe I'm not as busy as I think I am.

Over all I am glad that I participated in the media binge and the media fast. I think that the internet and social media are great tools to stay connected with people whom are far away and to share information. However, when you over indulge these purposes are less evident and you soon begin to simply try to keep yourself entertained.

Friday, December 11, 2015

To Binge or not to Binge

To binge on media or not to binge on media, that is the question.  Referring back to the golden mean, all thins in moderation.  In today's technological society, media bingeing for the greater percentage of the population isn't that much of a rare occurance.  Whether it is surfing the internet, watching television or spending combined hours on Facebook, everyday individuals are bingeing on media if they are aware of it or not.  After personally realizing how much time I was spending on facebook, I came to a hard decision and decided to delete it.  I did this because I found myself consistently being consumed and intertwined with others lives, almost to the point of not having an equal amount of time to concentrate and focus on my own life and future goals.

When I first heard about the media binge and fast, I didn't have much concern or worry leading up to it.  Since I don't have a facebook and am not consumed with many other forms of social media except snapchat, I had a pre conceived thought that the media fast would be that big of a deal.  I turned out to be wrong.  During the fast, it became clear to me that I still associate a lot of my free time with all forms of media in one way or another.  With the absence of a t.v. in my dorm, my preferred choice of entertainment is either my laptop or my smart phone.  During the fast, managing to not browse through many of my apps on my smart phone because a lot more difficult that I had anticipated.  I became more aware of Idia and preserving the memory of my daily events with myself rather than feeling the need or urge to share it with the public and my friends.

The media binge was not that difficult for me and most of my classmates.  Unlike with fast, the binge was at times difficult to process everything I was doing on media due to civil inattention.  With so many different news feeds and the constant vibration of my notifications on my phone, I found myself getting to the breaking point and wanted to disconnect everything.  It was simply to much at once.  Now that I am aware of how much media directly impacts our lives on a consistent basis, I can  either give it the power to draw my attention, or demonstrate self control and moderate all forms of media intake.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Media Binge/Fast

A few weeks ago I misplaced my phone and didn't have it for a full day. I didn't find it particularly hard to be without my phone, and it was actually kind of nice not to have to worry about texting someone back or checking Instagram and Facebook constantly.

This was not how I felt during the media fast. The difference was that my phone was in my pocket taunting me rather than being lost in my closet. It was weird being disconnected even though I could so easily just take my phone out and jump on social media. As for the media binge, I'm almost always on my phone so it wasn't that hard. However, I did see a lot of the same content over and over again, whether it be an annoying picture my aunt posted or my favorite band's Instagram post.

This reminded me of idia and koine. Idia is similar to the media fast because we are keeping our opinions to ourselves rather than sharing them out on the internet. Koine is similar to the media binge because we are constantly sharing and posting about what we are thinking all the time.

I think it's very strange that almost everyone has a need for their phone. Dan mentioned that he was fine with his non smart phone, but for people like me who are going into journalism, I have a need to be on Twitter retweeting news and building my brand. I need to show that I am serious about what I want to go into.

As for others, they need to be able to talk and FaceTime with their family that lives in a different state, professors need to be able to respond to their students emails if they have a question, and if there is a bomb threat, I'm pretty sure everyone would want to know about it.

Social media doesn't make us anti-social, except for the people who live on there as if there isn't an outside world. If anything media can be used to spark a conversation, like if there's a sudden news alert like with the Paris attacks. Media can bring us together as well as separate us, it all depends on the person you decide to be.

Even My Human Instincts Are Mediated: A Distressing Dilemma

Even My Human Instincts Are Mediated: A Distressing Dilemma

When I have my phone in my hand, there’s a part of me that feels like I have to open Instagram, scroll through Twitter and Facebook, refresh my email-- I just know that something has got to be vying for my attention, and I’m bound and determined to find it. When I’m away from my phone, I have this nagging feeling that someone is trying to contact me, that I’m missing out on life or death information, that I should be opening Instagram, scrolling through Twitter and Facebook, and refreshing my email. It’s become an instinct, and not one that I am proud of. I realized this week, in wake of our media fast and binge, that rather than doing what I should, I do what I’ve become accustomed to.

Rather than waking up and getting breakfast, I’ll stay in bed the extra few minutes to check my social media; rather than going to bed, I’ll pick up my phone to check in with the social media sites that haven’t changed in the past hour since I last looked. It is blaringly obvious to me that there is something wrong with the fact that my basic human instincts have been mediated. I’ve become accustomed to new behaviors that do not necessarily benefit me, but instead change the manner in which I live my life and act as a human being.

My experiences with both the media binge and the fast were unlike my predictions of what they would be. In hearing about others’ binges, wherein they stayed on screens, reading and actively searching for websites and information to keep them actively engaged, I realized that my view of media itself was a bit skewed from many. I use the Internet not to find genuinely new material. Rather, I use it primarily for social media and in times when I know that I don’t know something-- but that I know that I can search for and find almost instantly. I spent my time with my screen open or in my hand scrolling again and again through the normal social sites that I already spend the time on. I was more willing to look up questions and find answers using search engines during the binge, but it did not occur to me that I should or could spend my time perusing unknown websites, getting up to date on current events, or otherwise. My eyes opened and I am slightly appalled at myself for not utilizing my valuable time in the normal routine of my life, let alone during the media binge. As for the fast, I also became slightly disheartened with myself as the aforementioned instinctual tugging was ever present in the few days I participated in it. I’ve realized that although I do not feel that I allow my media usage rule my life, it plays a significant part in it. It’s the minor moments that comprise the human experience, and it’s the minor moments that are being taken away from me through my constant need for media.
While it is apparent that everything has become mediated in the technology and information-based world that we live in, this fact does not relieve any of the distress that the realizations of my own media consumption have given to me. This has been a call to action, of sorts, in that I now have a sense of purpose in regards to my media use. I have resolved to be more intentional in what I am doing when I open my browser or any of my apps; rather than going through the motions that have become instinctual, I have resolved to give more active thought to what I am doing by limiting my usage of medias that never change and maybe even expanding that of medias that can serve me well, to inform and challenge my perspectives and beliefs.

Media binge and fast

The media binge and fast experience was something very new for me. I would probably say for me that the binge was just as hard as the fast. I have always been someone that has used social media but never to the point of over use like I did with the fast. I often felt like I was overusing it or even getting bored with social media. There were often times that I read the same things over and over again as refreshing the page did not give me any new information. It eventually got to the point where I did not wanted to look at my twitter and instagram. It actually made me want to fast. When the fast started the hardest part for me was remembering that I was in a fast. For example, there are many times during the day where I get bored or do not have anything to do. That is usually when I take my phone out and use my social media. This has become somewhat of an habit for me and breaking that habit the first day of the fast was very difficult. Other then that when I did not think about the social media at all and kept myself occupied with other things it was pretty easy not to use. One thing that I did not like about the fast is the lack of information I gained in those days during the fast. My social media is my news. I do not watch tv for anything. Usually, the first thing that I do is check my phone for the weather and other things going on. I remember meeting up with my friends that day and having no idea about the topics that we were talking about. I missed scores of NBA games, updates about ISIS, and other things with my high school friends that were posted on twitter. Overall, this was a good experience for me. It weird to see how much of it you really use on a daily basis. After conducting this experience I think I could do without it, it would just be hard for me to connect with others because just about everyone is using it.

Netflix vs. Homework

        As I started my media binge, I began to love it. I loved constantly being on some sort of social media. I loved being able to sit on my phone nonstop and have a legitimate reason to. I enjoy being on my phone more than I enjoy talking to people most of the time. On my phone, I am socializing with people. I can have more of a conversation with someone over texts more than I can in person sometimes. I felt completely in the loop with everyone when I was able to sit on my phone. Of course, when I was at work I couldn't be on my phone, which sucked. The more I sat on my phone, the more I found out new things. I was able to search the web for just about anything. When I got bored, I would find something else to look at. When it came time to go to bed, I watched Netflix for hours. This was my perfect excuse to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. It got to the point where every time I stepped in my dorm room, I was turning on Netflix. My roommate noticed I had been a lot less talkative and she asked me if there was anything bothering me. I said no and she said well you sure have been burying your face in Netflix lately. I started laughing and told her it was for a class. She laughed at me and said yeah sure. I loved the media binge because I felt more connected with what was going on in the world.
When I began the media fast, I hated it. I couldn't watch anymore Grey’s, I couldn't text my friends nonstop, and I couldn't look at cute pictures of puppies when I got bored. However, I began doing more productive things. Thursday, I cleaned my entire dorm room. My roommates half and my half were spotless. I did all my laundry and all of my homework within those two and a half days. I went to bed at a rather early time during that time period as well. I talked more with the people around me but I didn't feel as connected. My roommate is very good at sitting on her phone as well so when I had to fast and she didn’t, I would go to bed while she sat on her phone. I remembered to do things I kept forgetting to do and I read a book. I think the last time I read a book for fun I was about 11 years old and it was most likely a book filled with pictures. 

Overall, I enjoyed the media binge more than the fast. Although, I did realize that the media fast helped me be more productive. I spent my time more wisely when I wasn't glued to my phone or binge watching Netflix. I love being on my phone, but I think in moderation would be best for my education. 

Media Binge vs Media Fast

As I began the media binge, I quickly grew bored of messing around on my phone. I never really go on my phone very much, other than for fantasy football and texting. Fortunately, I did have one of my best weeks on fantasy football as I had read nearly every expert insight as well as research all of my players to form my own opinions. I did have a lot of homework to do, which I had to complete on my laptop. Overall, the media binge allowed me to catch up on a lot of homework and log some serious call of duty hours. It did get irritating at times, however I already do so much using a screen during my day that it was not a huge challenge.

The media fast went way different than I expected it to. I did not think that I relied so heavily upon technology. I ran into incidents when I needed to use my laptop or phone, like navigating a friend in the car and completing my homework assignments. I felt really disconnected and like I did not know what was going on, as I was not checking group me, Twitter, and Facebook constantly as I had been in the days previously. In my free time, I found myself extremely bored as I really enjoy watching sports and playing video games.

After it was over, I was relieved to be able to return to my technology filled lifestyle. I never really realized how much time I spend looking at a screen, whether it be checking the time or changing the song I am listening to.

Fast v. Binge

~That flashing blue or yellow light on my recently purchased Samsung Galaxy S6~

I think to myself "What if it's important?", "What does the girlfriend need?" "What if it's my mom and it's urgent?" And suddenly, a single profound thought pops into my head "Jesus Christ Connor, you are sitting in an exam review you REALLY don't need your phone." 

I received my first computer in Kindergarten- it was a very old Gateway that had started to age and show the yellowing- a tale tell sign of 90s electronics (how chic). From an early age I was glued to my electronics. I received my own computer with internet in the third grade, first generation smartphone at some point in middle school... the list goes on. I've been glued to screens much longer than I want to admit, and before this fast I would have proudly stated how often I was in front of a screen. I felt smarter. I felt better informed. I felt like the world was a smaller place, and it was easier to understand. 

My parent's generation was never the type to be afforded the luxuries of smartphones, and if you wanted to plan a date you had to hope she didn't ditch you. Oh, your friend got too drunk and wandered off alone? Tough sh*t. You had to be more responsible in all facets of life; you had to be dependable when you weren't able to contact someone 24/7. My parents have always given me a hard time about being glued to the screen, and through my willful ignorance I honestly didn't realize how bad it was. During the fast I would sit in class and at work, and I would imagine my leg and pocket was vibrating, and as part of impulse I would look. "Strange," I thought, "No new messages". Had I become so used to a perpetual state of being connected to my friends, family and news outlets? It was nothing short of a surreal experience to finally realize I had become dependent (perhaps addicted is a more suitable term) to media.

When the San Bernardino shooting occurred, I wasn't aware of it until I got to my girlfriends house late at night and she mentioned it. Typically, a feed would be blowing up my phone letting me know every single detail, rumor and speculation of news events as they occurred but for the sake of the fast I shut those notifications off. I was shocked, and felt even more disconnected than before. When the fast was over I decided to go back on Reddit's timeline of reported events for the shooting and analyze the play-by-play. Many of the reports were inaccurate, and maybe waiting to receive a more developed story helped me in the long run. 

While I felt more accomplished when I used multiple forms of technology to do research, and complete day to day tasks I found myself more productive when I had a one track mind. Additionally, the world seemed to slow down- I didn't feel as stressed or rushed when it came to school and work. Since the fast I have cut down the notifications I receive on my phone as well as installed an app for my Mac named 'SelfControl' it blocks certain sites when you enable it, and allows yourself to complete your homework. For someone with ADHD and abysmal time management skills, this fast may have been a free recalibration towards academia, my mental wellbeing and a more involved social life.

Media Binge/Fast

I never realized how much I stare at my phone until I tried not to. The media binge and fast were an interesting life experiment for me. I thought it would be easy. Engaging in as many screens as possible at once was easy at first, but after a while I just felt empty inside. I fell into a blackhole of online shopping, social media stalking and Netflix.
Although the media binge prompted me to get all of my Christmas shopping done on cyber Monday, and helped dramatically boost my social media presence, hours would pass by without me really noticing. I had to charge my phone multiple times a day to keep up. At the end of the day, it felt like I had wasted a lot of time. Constantly being on a smartphone is distracting and the overload of media put me into zombie mode.
In contrast, the fast was a lot harder to maintain. I tried to only engage in media related to work and school. There were times I found myself clicking on social media apps unconsciously. It was also too hard to resist a notification, text or email most of the time. However, when I could resist I found myself being more productive. Instead of getting home and turning on the T.V. right away, I found better ways to occupy my time, like homework, chores and knitting. I ended up knitting an entire scarf during the media fast.
After experiencing both extremes, I think I will follow in the tradition of Aristotle and say moderation is key for media use. Before I was filling up my free time with so much media that it made me feel a lot more busy than in reality. When I cut out all of the wasted time spent using media I was able to be use my time wisely. The internet in particular is easy to excessively use because of its vast content. But in our time, total disconnect from media is nearly impossible. Our technologies improve communication, share news, and connect us in a network. I want to be somewhere in the middle, to stay connected but not become dependent on a constant flow of media.

the fast vs. the binge

When thinking about going on the media binge and before even starting, it didn't seem like it would be that much of a challenge, since I would consider myself to be on social media quite often. You never really think about how much of your time is consumed by social media until things such as the media binge or fast come into play. 
     At first the binge didn't seem to have any dramatic effects on me because I am use to constantly checking twitter, instagram, and Facebook multiple times a day. Weather it be walking to class, sitting in my room, or even at lunch or dinner it seems like I always am involved in some kind of media even if it be reading through old Facebook posts that I have already read before. I would consider media to be something that takes up a lot of my time and so it really was not that hard for me. One challenge that came with the binge although was getting homework and studying done. I had always known that when you constantly are checking social media and getting on your phone while studying you really get nothing productive done but after this binge it really occurred to me how much time you waste when you are constantly on twitter or listening to music while trying to do homework.
     The media fast on another hand was quite difficult. It had its negatives and positives but while fasting seemed to be remotely negative. Not being able to check twitter and see what everyone was pointlessly talking about each day was a struggle. I think the hardest part of the binge for me was knowing that I couldn't get on media. When someone says don't do something or you can't do something it only makes me want to be rebellious and do that something even more so for the binge not being able to go on social media made me want to go on even more. 
     Some of the negatives of the binge were not being able to see what was going on with some of my friends who were not close enough to talk to and have conversations with in person. When not replying to peoples texts for a few days they started to get concerned because I usually reply right away. 
     Overall the media binge and the fast made me realize one important thing! Media is not the most important thing in our lives. I feel like once we do things such as the binge we realize how much time we waste on media. It may seem like media is the only way to stay connected with people but really when you get rid of media you realize face to face conversations and staying connected with people without the use of media is way more valuable.

all things in moderation

I noticed many negatives to both binging and fasting on digital media. Personally, I had an easier time binging than I did fasting. I feel disconnected or like I am missing out on something when I am not checking my Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter in my regular ten minute intervals. I found that when I was binging on digital media however, it was less exciting, of course excluded my Netflix addiction that is never boring. 

The negatives of binging on digital media is that there isn't as much going on as I would have originally thought. I refreshed my Twitter feed every three seconds waiting for something new to be tweeted and to be out of my misery of rereading the same tweets. On Instagram I searched places, people, and hashtags for hours. I even found a new feature on Instagram that allows you to see what your follows are liking.
There is so much information in digital media, but I wasn’t even utilizing it while aimlessly going through every buzz feed article I saw on my Facebook home page or searching things on Instagram. I had assumed binging would be very beneficially, but it really just wasted my time, which I should be spending on more important things.

After binging, I believed the fast would be much more beneficial, in ways it was, but it mostly disconnected me from important information. I don’t watch the news or read regular new story’s online. I care about the news and like to know what is going on around me. I didn’t come to realize how much of my news I get from social media. It seems whenever something happens someone is always eager to set a Facebook status or share a link to a news story. In the wake of the shooting in California, I had no idea about it till I was sitting in the health center and the news talked about it for ten minutes. Digital media allows so much information to be released to people personally, that I wanted to look up more information on my phone, but didn’t. I was more keen to others around me while walking around campus and hanging out in my dorm. The age of digital media we are in it is inevitable to be a part of it. I learned to use digital media to be more productive and not just look at the same ten Instagram posts a dozen times in an hour. To use digital media in moderation, I am able to better engage with those around me.

Media Binge/ Fast

The media binge wasn’t that hard for me to take on. On a normal day, I wake up to my alarm – which is on my phone – and quickly browse my social media’s before taking a shower. When I get back to my room, then I scroll through every post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, you name it. For the binge, I always had my phone in my hand. I constantly scrolled through social media, opening every link and clicking on everyone’s profile, just to soak in the experience. After a while, it got really boring. I don’t recommend that someone just sit on Facebook for fun and keep scrolling up, trying to see if new content has been posted.

In the good nature of binging on media, I also watched multiple movies and documentaries on Netflix, while browsing at useless content on my phone. It got to the point where I had Netflix open on half of my computer screen, with another window open on the other half, while I was also on my phone. That gave me a headache. I’m not normally the person to binge watch TV shows so it was kind of a struggle to sit through an entire 90 minute documentary and not shut it off, but I triumphed through it.

I’m not going to lie, the media fast was a struggle. The only thing that I used my phone for during the fast was for my alarm in the morning, otherwise if I had it on me I tried my best to keep it off. When I did my homework that required me to use a computer, I had to restrain from “taking a break” after five minutes and wasting time on sites like Tumblr and YouTube. I found that it was easier to focus on my homework when my phone wasn’t right next to me.  I had more free time to do other things besides lay on my bed and watch videos that I’ve seen already.

One thing that was mentioned in class was that we aren’t really that busy when we put down our media and focus on what we have to get done. The fast made me realize that I have a lot more time on my hands when I’m not on my phone 24/7, or taking a break from homework to check Facebook or Twitter. Binging on media is sort of a normal thing nowadays, and I never really thought of how unhealthy it is until I experienced going from extremely connected to extremely disconnected. This experience was very eye opening and showed me the importance of balancing my time spent with technology, and how different my life is when I’m not connected via online media 24/7.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Media Binge vs Media Fast - Is it possible or impossible?

Media Binge
Before starting the media binge watch, I knew that it was going to be a little difficult, even though I already spend a lot of my time on my laptop and cell phone. It wasn’t going to be an easy task for me because I knew that even though I spend hours on my electronics, I still have many responsibilities with school, homework, and studying. The combined time that I spend on my electronics isn’t even comparable to the amount of time that I spend on my responsibilites that actually matter. Knowing this made me realize that media binge watching would be difficult no matter how much I like to procrastinate on social media.
During this time I realized that I constantly check my phone from roughly 8AM to 1AM every day. I always have my phone with me and I happen to always carry my book bag with my laptop inside everywhere I go. On my attempt to media binge watch, most of my activities included checking Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I would check on these social medias everyday in a similar pattern: I wake up and within 2 minutes I check my social media, in between periods when I’m getting ready, as I am walking to class, as I am in class, as i’m munching on my food while I’m eating, in between studying, and I lay on my bed checking, catching up, and closing my social medias before bed. One thing that I found funny on this reflection was the fact that I found myself “catching up” on social media at the end of the night, as if I’ve been away from it all day.

Need-help.gif (500×270)

345050a7ffbb7a636f2344ff276a84c3.jpg (236×227)

I began to run out of excitement and interest several times throughout the day because I was be on social media all the time. I would find myself refreshing my newsfeed all the time only to find nothing new being posted. Apart from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, Netflix would be the other media site that I normally visit throughout my binge watch. Within my binge watching I was able to finish 2 seasons of The Walking Dead. Netflix binge watching wasn’t hard because I only watched about 2 episodes a day, roughly 3 hours which isn’t so bad.  Getting 2 seasons of the Walking Dead out of the way was considered successful to me.
One of the reasons that I say that the time that I spent on my social media isn’t compared to the amount of time that i’m off of it, is because I check my social media in small intervals of about a minute each time. I don’t sit on my phone for several minutes a time. I found myself always being busy with school and work, but I would still be able to text people back and check up on my social medias without a problem. My lifestyle made it merely impossible to “media binge” as the name suggests.

     During this assignment I googled for various websites over Social Media. I came across a website called that talked about the commandments that one needs to follow in order to fully engage in social media. I thought it was funny and it goes with well the whole concept of media binge, so I thought I'd share: 

1278174-the-10-commandments-of-social-media-rotator.jpg (1280×783)

Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy)
Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere)
Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them)
Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find)
Thou Shalt Podcast (often)
Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately)
Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs)
Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone)
Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week)
Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)

Media Fast:

My media fasting was even more difficult to do simply because my resources that I needed in order to do well in college relied on the use of my laptop. It wasn’t successful because I constantly used my cell phone to check notifications on Facebook from my campus organization that I am involved in. This was the same case when checking my phone to reach group members, family, and work. Again, my lifestyle doesn’t make it possible to media fast. After noticing both my reflections on binge media and media fast, it was interesting to see that the usage of media simply can’t be done all the time or never, yet so much of our communication and everyday life is done in some form of media involvement.

Social Media Bulimia

During this social media week I had some struggles and some easy going moments but over all my response to this was a reinforcement of what I currently do. The week started out as a binge, one of which I didn’t know how to handle. I became a thirteen year old girl texting and looking at twitter and watching YouTube wonders. I somewhat struggled because I do not have a twitter, tumbler, snap chat, or any other social media other than YouTube and Facebook. I basically overtook my entire life looking at images on the internet and finding ways to take up all my time and what I found was astonishing! I had done nothing. I found all these cool articles amongst the garbage posts

and had lots of new ideas of things I could build from sites such as Instructables but I had no physical thing to show. The first day went by and I physically and emotionally felt alright but by the third day I had a headache and had to wear my glasses instead of contacts and emotionally felt empty inside. I didn’t know what to do! Finally the fast came. I typically live a simple life with most of my time spent in contact with physical people or outside doing something. This was a time for me to be in my element. I immediately had something to show as I adjusted and set up all my guitars (this takes a while) and I felt great physically and emotionally. I found that I had more time to think on my ideas and could actually achieve what I thought. I also go a lot more work done in preparation of finals and my other workloads.  
What I got out of this experience was something I imagined I would get but with more meaning than I ever would have thought. I knew I was going to have a hard time with the first part of the week and a fairly easy second half. But I found that striking a balance is necessary because I use the internet to fuel my imagination for ideas and then act on them. I use the internet to find things that people have already done or learned about so my time will go faster and without the internet I would most definitely not be as crafty as I am. I always thought I could do without the internet but I found that in order to keep my mind fresh with ideas I need to have that fire fueled with a bombardment of ideas.

The title of this blog is because I found myself eating more because when I was binging on social media I was bored with my brain and needed something to do. I also started to look at my body and compare myself to others. I found this site (Social Media Hope for Pro-Recovery) that basically states that social media is good but can also be bad. By comparing ourselves to others found in media this can cause eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or other disorders. Lastly, I learned that we need to look at social media differently. This media should not be comparative from fake looking people such as the Barbie figure but rather more real everyday people. Killing us softly is a documentary I watched during my fast for another class (Killing Us Softly) This documentary really made the point that people are seriously affected and exploited while on the face of social media. I took a stand to help in the awareness of the effects of social media and I also live my life with a lot less social online media than other people do. I am living proof that you do not need a smart phone but rather to have a phone and be smart about what you use it for.

We Expect the News to Come to Us

I clearly remember the day of December 14, 2012. I was halfway through my sophomore year of high school and everyone was stressing over the impending week of exams and getting excited for winter break. After lunch that day, my friends and I stood by the office waiting for the bell to ring for our next class. The office of my high school has huge glass windows on all sides of it so you can see everything inside. There was a TV on in the center of the room. I hadn't ever noticed that TV before. The students around me kept chattering and laughing, but my friend Emma and I noticed the CNN headline that was splashed across the TV. From what I could tell, some guy went to an elementary school and started shooting. I thought about my brother who was sitting in his fourth grade classroom at that moment and I got really scared. The idea that someone could be so deranged and cruel to kill innocent children sickened me. However, I had no clue that the day of the Sandy Hook shooting would be a pivotal day in the mentality of our nation. It was simply a tragic event that I happened to hear about by glancing at a TV.

Fast forward three years to the first week of December 2015. Mass shootings are a regular occurrence in the US and I have to look no further than the headline of BuzzFeed to find out about the most recent tragedy. The media binge/fast for our class just happened to occur at the same time as the San Bernardino shooting, and my lack of use of media at the time made me really stop and think about how I receive my information and how I search for news.

The media binge was surprisingly easy. I did not realize that my Spotify saturated walks to class and my mindless scrolling through Tumblr are basic parts of my day that keep me constantly connected to media. I was much more affected by the fast. Of course, I was unable to completely cut myself off from all media since that's impossible, but I made a concerted effort to reduce my time online. My productivity in class increased slightly during the fast, but not enough that I would consider continuing the fast. My focus during the fast seemed to be on my lingering feeling of boredom and isolation. On Wednesday December 2nd, the San Bernardino attack occurred and I did not learn about it as immediately as I typically would.

Image result for san bernardino shooting

The feeling of being out of the loop was new to me. To be entirely honest, I found out about the attack by cheating my fast and checking BuzzFeed. However, the story was already pretty developed and people were in deep mourning. By jumping into the story late, I realized that I take instant knowledge completely for granted.

I don't necessarily seek out the news (although I probably should as a JOMC student). I let the news come to me. That is an extremely new concept in the world. Up until the existence of Internet, I would've needed to have actively bought and read a newspaper or turned on my TV or radio. Those forms of news are only updated once a day and can't be mindlessly checked whenever I have a disposable moment. Also, people buy newspapers specifically to read the news. I just stumble upon current events in my search for a new YouTube video or quiz.

I realize that this is not an effective way to learn about the events of my community and my world. The media fast made me realize my apathy toward the incredibly fast and thorough news media we are privileged enough to have. The out-of-the-loop feeling I had as I learned about the San Bernardino attacks after most people was my wake up call to appreciate the work of the media a bit more. This does not mean I will spend more time on the Internet, but I now realize how to better use the resources that I have taken for granted.

The world and the media have transformed since the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. I can't help but wonder if the ability to make an instant impression on a nation through media has influenced any of these awful criminals. Since we are now so used to the news just appearing for us, perpetrators can essentially send messages to the whole world without saying a word. The media will deliver their motives and actions right to our screens. It's a strange phenomenon that without our media, we feel uninformed even if we are not going on to the Internet specifically to look at news. Perhaps it makes us more worldly that we have no choice but to be aware of the events of our society, but our knowledge will not change anything unless we actively listen to and participate in the mediated world.