I didn’t plan very well in advance and forgot to tell my friends and family that I wouldn’t be available via media for two days. But even though they either would have been completely fine (albeit a little confused) or found out from me in person so that I could then explain. But still I felt this enormous draw to my main method of communication: my phone. I was compelled to answer messages even when they were by no means urgent.
Going without music was by far one of the hardest tasks assigned. I dutifully went everywhere without my Ipod and went by the music playing in my head. I heard snippets of conversations as people walked past, the drilling sound of construction, the growling of ’97 Mustangs. I couldn’t listen to Muse or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Lady Gaga. Really, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, and I complain as a child born into this media craze who often takes it for granted. But when I went without, I felt its absence painfully.
Just like when I made a note of all the media I was soaking in for the first blog entry, I was surprised by how much media I was involuntarily exposed to, even when I tried to avoid it. Music played while I ate; posters splashed across the walls as I walked to a meeting in the Union; eye-catching, appealing forms of media that I didn’t even think about until I was consuming them in some way. I turn around to talk to my roommate and Facebook looms on her laptop screen behind her so that I can’t avert my eyes. After about half the day, I started to feel like media was like a crazed stalker.
In the end, I was rather unsuccessful in avoiding all forms of media. It seemed impossible. I didn’t use the internet or my Ipod all day, but occasionally couldn’t avoid using my phone. Then there was all the media I was inadvertently exposed to.
Most of the involuntary consumption involved advertisements. About 90 percent of the time, I feel neutral towards ads. Rarely do they actually convince me. Especially this one. No, Sandals. I will not have the time of my life. Stop using the Dirty Dancing soundtrack to try to lure me into your resort. I will not do it.
So in some ways it felt good to be without media. Whenever I can stay off Facebook for a day, I feel much more productive, regardless of whatever it is I actually do that day. But other ways (like music), I felt somewhat incomplete without it. My day was both better and worse without media.
Going without made me more aware of my phone and internet habits, but the involuntary media was definitely brought to my attention at a much more alarming rate. I realized how much I was consuming without thinking twice about it, and how everyone around me was doing the exact same thing.