Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Temptation of Facebook: Media Binge and Fast

I was anticipating difficulty with the task of first having constant stimulation from technology and then having none at all, and perhaps going in with such a mindset influenced my experience of the media binge and fast.  Although I would not consider myself successful in engaging and then detaching myself from technology, the experience certainly gave me insight in my relationship with technology.

At the start of the media binge I had just finished a weekend paper writing marathon, spending most -- if not all -- my time glued to a screen.  So, by the time the media binge began I was ready to take a break from my computer, hoping to enjoy the nice weather instead of being connected to technology.  Nonetheless, I was diligent in following through on the assignment.  Of course, being digitally connected by taking my phone outside on a walk with me did not feel any different than what I was used to.  Still, because I was more aware that I had to be using my devices, William Powers’s insights on having a phone on a walk being “a qualitatively different experience, simply because it’s busier” rang true (15).  I was not engaged with my environment, instead more focused on when I was going to receive the next text message or Facebook alert.  The air truly did feel like it was “full of people” (Powers 15).

I also realized during the media binge I was prone to multitasking.  While I was working on homework, I could not focus because I would constantly switch to going on Facebook or Youtube.  These “breaks” from my homework quickly turned into hour long sessions.  Yet, in some way I felt justified for being constantly stimulated since it was an assignment for class.  I wanted to convince myself that the binge felt abnormal and that the “busyness” of being continuously connected was not normal for my life.

The media fast, however, proved to be difficult, making me consider that the connectedness I had been exposed to the last few days was already my norm.  While I could make the excuse during the media binge that my constant interaction with technology was “imposed on” me “beyond [my] control” I did not have the same excuse for when I wanted to use technology during the media fast (10).  Unfortunately, I was working on papers during the media fast, so I did not take full advantage of expelling technology from my life.  However, I did find myself more than once going through a routine of taking a break from my studies by going to Netflix or checking Facebook.  I had to remind myself a few times that I was doing a media fast.  I did not want to switch off the computer during my breaks.  Although if I had been more diligent at disconnecting myself from technology during the media fast I may have experienced more “depth” in my life.  

Towards the end of the media fast I did begin to turn on airplane mode on my computer to prevent myself from wandering on the web.  Having to remind myself to not use technology ended up being more stressful than relaxing at first.  However, I do believe in the end I felt more productive and engaged with what I was doing during the fast.  The experience has certainly made me reconsider technology’s role in my life and encourages me to disconnect more often.

Powers, William. Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Melbourne: Scribe, 2013. Print.

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