Monday, May 1, 2017

An Interesting Time: Binging and Fasting on Media

Media Binge and Media Fast
Doing the media binge and the media was interesting, to say the least.
During the media binge, when I would be talking to someone, I would leave my phone with the screen up. The button that turns off the screen is broken on my phone so normally I lay it face down when I’m sitting at my desk in my room talking to my roommates. It was a bit frustrating how distracting is was when a notification would pop up. Even though I was trying to pay attention to the conversation it was difficult to not look at the bright screen. I would find myself wondering if so-and-so had replied to my text, not truly listening to the conversation I was a part of.
Many of my phone’s notifications are from large groups on groupme, so they don’t always pertain directly to me. Normally I would glance through them at the end of the day. Constantly being on my phone made me realize how many notifications are on my phone, from groupme to facebook to instagram. All of that information is there, whether I see it five seconds after the notification pops up, or several hours later.
My schedule this semester was class from 8 am to 3:15 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Normally I don’t look at my phone much during that time, and so hours will go by before I text someone back. During the media binge, I responded much quicker to texts. There was never any time when the situation was dire enough that it couldn’t have waited a couple hours, but it wasn’t a bad thing to respond quickly.
I actually read all of the newsletters that get sent to my phone and discovered some new parts of Instagram. I enjoyed reading more of the news, but it definitely reached a certain point of time where I felt like I had learned enough about what was going on.
I was excited for the media binge. I try to stay off my phone a lot of the time anyway, so that was not as challenging. It was much more difficult to not be on my computer throughout the day, even when I wasn’t studying.
As it was dead week I was studying most of the time. I found myself not knowing what to do during study breaks, without Facebook or Instagram to mindlessly scroll through. I was able to to focus more on my studies after taking a break, because I didn’t have snippets from NPR articles swirling around in my head as I tried to focus on philosophy.
        At night, when I’d get into bed, finally done studying, I found myself spending much less time before I would fall asleep, as I spent the time reading rather than checking Facebook one last time.
       I read more of the newspaper than I usually do. It was nice to have that part of my life confined to the morning and evening rather than small snippets throughout the day. It was also interesting seeing all the parts of the newspaper in one place. When scrolling down NPR’s front page I just click on the articles that interest me. I don’t even have to glance at the others. It made me aware of the filter bubble that exists when you consume news online, but that is much harder to exist when you get your news from print.
Much of the week went how I was expecting it to go. My interactions were shallower, because my attention was scattered and I was forced to divide my attention from digital devices and the people me. I enjoyed the media fast more than I was expecting to. It was pleasant to have an excuse to not be on phone, especially after the media binge.

This experience made me more aware of the amount of time I spend on digital media. It also showed me how that decision affects us and that it is very much a choice.

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