Blog Post 4
Being busy is not a bad word in college. You are always busy in school with constant tests, papers, and quizzes. There is always something to do and if you aren't doing something you probably should be. With technology thrown into this mix, it is an even busier and creates even more to do. I thought the media binge would be no different than my everyday life and the media fast would be a nice break from the constant media overload.
The media binge was worse than I thought it would be. I often feel like I spend my whole day in front of a screen but when you actually have to do it, it is even worse. I felt like I had a constant headache from staring at a screen. At the beginning, I thought this would make me more productive and actually get things done but soon enough my brain became crammed with so much information that I could not focus on anything. This problem was addressed in the Power’s reading when he explained how our phones “link us more tightly to all sources of our busyness.” I felt this was evident in my media binge by forcing me to always stay connected with all social media and scattered my brain when I tried to actually be productive. In the reading, Power’s also talked about how technology takes away from the depth we experience in our interactions with others. Being on my phone I noticed how I paid little attention to what my friends were saying and was too busy staring at a screen to really listen. For the short times when I did not have a phone or television in front of my face, I actually noticed the people around me. Even just looking at someone's facial expression and eye behaviors gave more depth to a conversation. This media binge really made me value the conversations and moments when we are not constantly on our phones and busy.
Having the media fast during dead week made it very challenging since I had numerous group projects where I had to communicate with my group members. Since I had to use my computer and phone for multiple projects it was hard to not become distracted by everything else on my computer. The times when I would leave my electronic devices at home I noticed multiple things. The first thing I noticed is how anxious I got when I realized I did not have my phone and if something important happened I would have no idea. There was a very slim chance that anything big would happen but just not being connected to the outside world was very strange. Another thing I noticed not being on my phone is how many people are on their phone all the time. People around me seemed to have their eyes always glued to their phone. Walking across the street, talking to friends, and even driving people always seemed to have a phone in their hand. While I will be honest and admit I did not complete the media fast to the best of my abilities I did learn important lessons. The first thing I got from the media fast is that media, especially in college, is always surrounding us. It is hard to disconnect from everything when college relies on students to be constantly connected with readings online and teachers emailing class alerts. Another thing I learned is that being disconnected from your phone for a little bit is a big eye opener. Kids on college campuses are constantly on their phones and I finally noticed this when I lifted my eyes from my own screen.
After participating in this media binge and fast I am coming away from it looking at technology as a nice addition to our world but something that has taken over many people's lives. I look at technology as a tool where I think others see it as their lifeline. This project has made me appreciate the moments I am not in front of the screen and helped me realize you can miss out on great experiences/ conversations always having your face in front of a screen.
William Powers, “Busy, Very Busy: In a Digital World, Where’s the Depth?” and “Walking to Heaven: Plato Discovers Distance” in Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (New York: Harper, 2010), 9-20, 83-100.