The media binge and fast was not a completely new concept to me, but I thought it would be a cool concept to try out for the week. Every once and a while, I will get extremely sick of social media, and delete any social apps from my phone for a few days at a time. Eventually, when I put the apps back on my phone after the break, I find myself being interested in nothing else but catching up on everything that I missed.
My first step in the binge was to make sure that I finished all of my school related work before starting the binge, so that I could get the full experience. I then planned out my social media consumption – pinteresting during uninteresting lectures, going straight home to watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, constantly being on some type of social media platform on my phone, etc. By consuming myself in such mass amounts of media, I started to notice a few things. The first thing that I noticed was that I was extremely bored. All of the pins on my trending feed started to look the same, 13 Reasons Why got too depressing and over dramatic (as it naturally does anyways), and nothing new was being posted on any of the social media platforms that I was checking, because I was checking them all constantly. Another thing that I noticed was that I started to become extremely irritable towards people, more specifically, people that I was seeing in person on a regular basis as well as checking my social media platforms and seeing their posts. It was almost like I was constantly with them and was not getting any time apart from them. The third and final thing that stood out to me during the binge was that I was finding myself not wanting to do literally anything besides the binging. I was not interested in paying attention to lectures because I wanted to keep pinteresting, I did not want to go out to eat with my friends because I was in the middle of another episode of 13 Reasons Why, and I did not want to talk to anyone in person because I was too busy checking up on everyone else virtually. My overall experience from the binge was that yes, media can enhance our lives and we can enjoy it, but we should not let it consume us, because it takes away from other attributes of life.
Of course after the binge, came the fast, which at first was quite refreshing considering all of the media I was submersed in. I took a few steps in preparing for the fast as well, just as I did for the binge. First, I deleted all of the social media apps from my phone. Next, I attempted to not bring my laptop to classes that I did not need it for, so that I would not be tempted to surf the internet if I got bored. Then, I started actually fasting media. Once I was deep into fasting, I starting noticing a few things, just like I did during my binge. The first thing that I noticed was that I was even more bored not having my media than I was when I actually had it. What I mean by this, is that even when I got bored in class, while I was at home, etc., I did not have media to fall back on to entertain me. This resulted in even more brutal cases of boredom. The next thing that I noticed during the fast was that I felt very anxious about “being out of the loop”. My sorority's main form of mass communication is through our Facebook page, and without that, I was constantly feeling like I was missing something or like I was supposed to be somewhere. Let the record show, that after the fast, I checked the Facebook page, and nothing was even posted. The last thing that I noticed was that during the binge, I did not want to do anything except binge. However, during the fast, I wanted to find anything and everything to do with my free time, because I again, did not have media to fall back on to fill my time. I ended up prematurely studying for finals, starting on summer homework for my summer classes, and even packing up the things my room to move home for the summer.
Overall, I enjoyed the fast much more than the binge, but not until after the experience as over. I realized that the binge did not make me feel good in any way, and that it made me feel extremely dependent and clingy to media. The fast, however, forced me to get things done and actually talk to people in real life, so in the end it was more beneficial to me. As stating in the beginning, I also like to take a break from media sometimes just on my own, so the fast was very refreshing, especially compared to spending the entire day on the internet.