Thursday, April 27, 2017

Finding the Perfect Balance: Media Binge and Fast

  Personally, I have always viewed myself as someone who is very self aware when it comes to technology. This assignment woke me up to the fact that I am not as self aware as I thought I was. I did my media binge and fast a week ahead of time, as I knew I would be too busy to constructively blog during dead week and finals week.   

         The media binge originally did not seem as though it would challenge me, as I feel as though I am on social media all of the time. The binge proved to me that I am not connected to social media as much as I thought I was. I tried to check the media constantly, every news notification that popped up I clicked on, every text or social media notification I responded to. The world around me narrowed, and I became focused solely on my digital fingerprint.  

  I was constantly worried about having my phone on me, which wasn’t necessarily any different than I am normally. During this binge, however, I slowly became annoyed whenever my phone would buzz, because I knew on a media binge I needed to look into the notification right away. The process was both exhausting and addicting.  

         After a few days of binging, the media fast seemed slightly intimidating, but also a significant relief. The first afternoon I felt so free, I was more focused on my conversations, I took in the beauty of the world outside, and I found myself actually taking solid notes in class (which was probably productive, because it was almost dead week). The media fast became more challenging as the days progressed, I felt as though I was missing out on things, that people would wonder where I was, and that I was disconnected from important happenings. News notifications that popped up I had to ignore, social media alerts would taunt me constantly. I began mentally counting down the hours until my world could become “normal” again.  

         Then, I saw the point of this whole exercise. The light bulb came on. It became so clear as to why we were asked to do a media binge, and then a media fast right afterwards. The point of this whole exercise was to find the perfect balance in between a media fast and binge. It was to recognize the importance of technology and media in our daily lives, while interpreting the aspects that control us and negate the quality of our experiences.  

         According to William Powers in his chapter, “Disconnectopia: The Internet Sabbath,” he stated, “The point isn’t that the screen is bad. The screen is, in fact very good. The point is the lack of proportion, the abandonment of all else, and the strange absent-present state of mind this compulsion produces.” The point of this exercise, was to control our compulsions, and focus on how technology and the media benefits us, as well as how it does not benefit us. Finding balance in everything is productive, especially devices that are at hands length at all times. 

William Powers, “Disconnectopia: The Internet Sabbath,” in Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (New York: Harper, 2010), 209-34.

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