The media binge portion of this assignment was much easier for me than the fast. I am always connected with technology, whether it’s me listening to music on Spotify, bingeing the latest Netflix show, or playing the game Ruzzle on my smartphone. Although I usually don’t see this practice as being harmful, many people argue that society’s levels of connectedness to smartphones can be damaging. In fact, there’s an article on WebMD on how try and overcome an addiction to smartphones, and addiction that affects many Americans, including myself.
According to Powers from our reading, having a phone constantly with you is like “a psychic leash, and the mind can feel it tugging” (Powers). In fact, we’re so used to feeling the tug of the phone that “it’s hard to imagine life without it” (Powers). I find this to be true, and never go anywhere without my smartphone; if I’m not allowed to bring it somewhere or I forget it at home, I feel naked, like a part of me is missing. Therefore, the media binge was not very different from my everyday life. I almost always have a phone in my hand or my laptop open, the only exceptions being when I’m with friends or in class. Most of the time, I’m not even doing anything important online, I’m just wasting time looking at the latest meme or seeing the last thing that Carly Rae Jepsen posted on Twitter.
After the media binge, I was not looking forward to the media fast at all. It was incredibly difficult, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Due to the fact that the fast occurred right before finals week, I still had to be on my phone and computer a decent amount of time in order to get all of my assignments done and stay connected with group members. Even though I wasn’t completely cut off from the digital world and the internet, it was odd to not be connected to social media and streaming sites. I found myself constantly reaching for my phone without a thought, and had to fight the near constant impulse to check my Twitter and Facebook feeds, a problem which many people in my generation face, calling smartphones the equivalent of having a “slot machine in my pocket” (Bosker).
There are many reasons for why our increased dependence on technology can be seen as a bad thing, such as the involuntary sharing of data that occurs on websites such as Facebook (Morozov, Evgeny) Many people agree that a break from technology can be a good thing, stating that the problem with many people today isn’t their use of technology, but their “lack of proportion, the abandonment of all else, and the strange absent-present state of mind this compulsion produces” (Powers). Technology isn’t inherently bad; it helped causes such as organizing for the Women’s March and can help communities become more involved. We, as a society, need to find the delicate balance between social media and internet usage in order to make a better world, and this assignment helped me learn my own balance.