Saturday, April 30, 2016

Digital Media Binge/Fast Reflection
Weston Huerstel

                This past week in class, we had an assignment that required us to binge on all possible electronic media outlets for a period of time, and then refrain from electronic media use completely. My experience with the assignment was quite interesting, and I feel that I learned a lot, especially while fasting from media. To start off the media binge, I made sure that some of my old video game devices were hooked up in my living room so that in my idle time I could spend countless hours playing old games just like I did years ago. Because it has been so long since I sat down and binged on a good video game for hours on end, the physical effects were noticeable. For one day, I sat down and let myself be consumed by a strategy game with an intricate story, and the time started to fly by. By the time I was done playing, seven hours had passed and I was almost completely finished with the game. I felt completely drained, likely as a result of being overloaded with information. When I went to bed, I tried to keep up my efforts by checking all of my social media profiles on my phone while lying in bed, but found that it was difficult to concentrate even though this is something that I normally do before dozing off each night. This was not only because my eyes were somewhat strained from looking at a screen for so long, but also because I found myself constantly thinking about the game’s storyline and different strategies that I could use when I returned to it. This opened my eyed to the concept that there is probably a limit to how much information you can pack into your brain over the course of a single day, and I had probably reached that point. I did not sleep as well as I normally do, and the next day I was still a little low on energy. It was a somewhat similar feeling to the grogginess after waking up from a long nap in the afternoon. Throughout the second day, I simply tried to stay glued to my phone or laptop whenever I could, and although the effects were not as drastic as those from the night before, the constant input seemed to prolong them. Before the fast, I made sure that I got a good night’s sleep, as COMM 250 was my first class of the day at 2pm. During the fast, I used my phone as little as I possibly could, which had the biggest impact on my daily routine. It was especially noticeable during my workout routine, as I usually use my phone to listen to music. This was the only time that the effects of the fast were negative, as my workout took longer and I wasn’t as focused as I normally am. During other parts of the day though, I was definitely more focused on what I was doing, especially in class and while I was doing homework. I took the day to work on an essay, but wrote it out in a notebook instead of working on my laptop. Doing this made me realize that my handwriting has gotten somewhat sloppy over the course of the year, and the urge to check my phone during class was ever prevalent. I also found that I was bored when sitting in my apartment during the fast, as I am usually either on my phone or laptop during my free time.  The fast was a good way to relax after how involved I was with electronic media during the binge, and it really made me realize just how much I use digital media throughout the course of a normal day, especially my phone as it is with me wherever I go.

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