Thursday, December 10, 2015

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.

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to social media, I personally think it's a topic that has been taken very seriously lately. Everybody have their own construals on social media. I think more people talk about how bad it is more than anything when I believe it is what you make of it. You can use social media in very positive ways if you don't let it consume your life. For example, staying connected with relatives from out of state. Or on the contrast, staying in tune with your favorite celebrity on snap chat or instagram. Social media isn't bad; it's only a negative thing when you let it consume you or be your identity.

    I believe everybody should primarily just become smarter with the way they use it and let it effect them. Social media is just another way that our generation is communicating through, and it will only progress. So instead of viewing it negatively, our generation and elder generations should take advantage of the benefits it provides for communicating.

    Of course, I can get caught up in social media sometimes. I will even find myself on Facebook or Instagram when I should be doing other things. I even find myself on my phone rather than engaging in a conversation with my family at the dinner table. However, this doesn't mean I need to eliminate all my social media apps out of my life. It just means that I should acknowledge how it effects my communication face to face, and decrease the negative ways I use it.