Saturday, April 29, 2017

My Media Fast

For this class, I did what I could as far as a media fast goes. With it being dead week, and my job of managing social media for the Bourbon Theatre (come to a show and say what's up!), the media fast wasn't what I know it could have been. Instead, I will reflect on a media fast which was on a whole different level.

In 2012, I enlisted in the Army National Guard. I attended basic training in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for nine weeks. In these nine weeks, I had very little access to any electronics. On the first day, I turned my cell phone over to the drill Sergeants, and didn't see it again for weeks. On Sundays of weeks 6-9, I was allowed to use my cell phone for 30 minutes. I used this 30 minutes to talk to my loved ones, and didn't see a trace of social media.

I feel as though this is more of an affective "media fast" than anything I could have possibly done this week, so I will reflect on that.

Even more than today, in 2012, I was on my phone constantly. 19 year old me with no job, waiting to get shipped off to basic training, had nothing better to do but stare at my phone and laptop in my free time. I would mainly scroll through Facebook, looking at the pointless content people from my High School/College posted. This was in a time where I was not as interested in the news/current events/politics as I am now. All I was looking at was how my peers were doing and comparing them to what I had going on in my life at the time. I will be the first to admit that this was not a healthy practice. I didn't really realize it, but since I didn't have a job, being engaged in social media (with the occasional hang out with friends) was my life. It was for the best that this changed.

In the midts of getting yelled at by my Drill Sergeants (and had just witnessed a man quit the Army within the first hour), I turned over my last lifeline to the outside world. My phone went in a plastic bag, and into a storage closet until my Drill Sergeants felt that we had matured from worthless scum to the point where we could use our phones for a half hour on Sunday evening.

Within the nine weeks I was at basic training, I did not see any social media. Like I mentioned earlier, I only used my phone to call my loved ones when I got it. Half way through basic training, it dawned on me, I have absolutely no clue what is going on in the outside world (besides the getting the occasional Israel-Gaza conflict/Obama v Romney update from out Drill Sergeants). It was an unexpected feeling of comfort and freedom. At one point I thought "I have no idea what my friends are doing, and frankly, I don't care!" After I had that thought, I feel like I matured quite a bit as a person. For the first time, I realized that it doesn't really matter where my peers are at in their careers, the only thing that matters is that I'm doing the best that I can do for mine, and that I'm doing the best I possibly can for my future. That was a very freeing and enlightening moment for me, and one I will probably never forget.

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