Sunday, April 30, 2017

Media Binge and Fast

To be honest, I have a media problem. I’ll be the first to admit that I find more comfort on the Internet than I do with face-to-face interaction. I’m an awkward human, and the Internet is an escape.

I’m on every social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, Tumblr, and I have two Twitter accounts (because I was told to keep my “journalism-y” stuff separate from my personal stuff).

If I’m being honest right now, I’d say typically spend between 6-8 hours each day on the Internet.

I know, it’s a lot.

I could say that much of it is due to the fact that I am a working journalist and a journalism student, and that my jobs and studies require me to be up-to-date on each and every breaking story. I wouldn’t be wrong by saying that. Still, probably 20-30% of my time online each day is not spent on news sites.

Whether it’s watching videos on YouTube or just doing some casual Facebook-stalking of friends from back home, I’m guilty of spending time online that I could spend being a productive member of society.

The media binge was easy. I didn’t change a thing.

I’m always reading news from a plethora of different sites – Facebook, Twitter, CNN, USA Today, NBC, HuffPost, FOX and CBS, to name a few. Along with that, I write several news articles each week, and am constantly online looking at the latest news stories.

Needless to say, I had a good time during the binge.

The media fast was a bit different.

I’m not going to lie, I slipped up a few times. One of those times was right before class, when Jon walked by and saw me on Facebook, observing that my fast didn’t seem to be going very well. I couldn’t argue with him there.

I still had to be online sometimes. My job as a journalist, and my journalism and broadcasting studies require it. There’s not much I can do about that.

But I was able to cut out some time spent just messing around on social media each day. My extra time gave me the opportunity to do things that were better for me.

I already go to the gym each day, but I often have to cut my workouts short because I got behind schedule when I was preoccupied with the Internet. (Mostly) eliminating that distraction allowed me to spend more time doing things that were better for me.

Overall, I was a lot more aware of the time I waste on a daily basis online, and I took the opportunities to be more productive.

It was an interesting experience and while I can’t say it will significantly change my habits, I think it opened my eyes quite a bit.

After the binge and fast, I can’t commit to completely scaling back my online presence, but I definitely have a new perspective, and will make a more active effort to curb my time-wasting online.

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