Monday, May 1, 2017

Media Fast and Binge

I went into this exercise thinking I would feel maybe a little refreshed after but I didn't realize how much the digital world has an effect on my life. The media binge I thought was going to just be similar to how I use media and digital screens normally. However I found that having a screen on and in front of you as often as possible is draining. It's mentally draining to be constantly focused on something and at time try to pay attention to multiple things at once. I would have my phone in my hand refreshing Twitter, refreshing Instagram and refreshing Facebook even when I knew there was no new posts which just ended up wasting my time. I found it so hard to concentrate on something like homework or a conversation when there was a screen on or something playing in the background. This constant streaming of digital media makes it impossible to live in the moment. When you have twitter open in front of you, you are too busy reading about what other people have done than what you are doing right now. Sometimes I will bing like this accidentally for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon but not for a constant 3 days. My head hurt and I felt like I was always a few steps behind in whatever i was doing, or trying to do. There was no time to think or process all this information or to even breathe. 

The fast was also differed greatly from what I had expected. I knew it was going to be somewhat difficult to resit the urge to check social media, immediately respond to a text or stay up to date on the group message. But I didn't know how strong that urge really is. I thought about reaching down to pick up my phone or open the Facebook tab on my computer every couple minutes. After I had accepted the fact that I had to leave it alone, my mind slowly started to want it less. After a day I became less worried about missing a tweet or post if I wasn't checking my social media. I knew I still wanted to check it, but I had survived a day without it, I could survive another. I began to realize a lot of the reason I check my phone is a combination of the fear of missing out and simply a habit. Without my phone in my hand, or the TV on I could get through homework faster, accomplish more than what I planned to and feel as fatigued. My brain felt less overwhelmed because for once it wasn't absorbing all this noise that it didn't need. 

Distance and depth were both topics that were discussed in readings related to this exercise and I could relate to the them now. I could actually feel how creating distance between myself and the busy digital world could be compared to physically leaving the busy and chaotic life of the city. I also understood the meaning of "depth" better. When I had experienced things on my phone there was no depth, just me scanning information. But when I put the screen down I could engage and and have a much more genuine experience. It was refreshing, like I didn't know what I was missing, I was so used to living life through a screen. 

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