Tuesday, November 29, 2011

media fast, take two; or, final exam for intro to media studies

1. sometime between today, tuesday, november 29, and monday, december 5, stop using all modern media. you can read books and magazines and papers, but stop using media that is electronic or digital. no iphones, no facebook, no text. no computers, TVs, or radios. no CD players, digital cameras, or tape recorders. mark the time your media fast begins.

2. continue your fast for as long as possible. go longer than your first fast.

3. when your absence from media becomes dangerous, impossible, or unbearable, return to them. note which device you broke your fast with and record the time.

4. calculate how long your media fast lasted.

5. take some time -- a few hours, a day -- to reflect upon what happened.

6. in no more than two pages, share your findings. be sure to include connections with at least two readings from intro to media studies.


7. once you have finished your two-page essay, copy your favorite part - a sentence, a few sentences, a paragraph - and paste it as a comment to this blog post. you can comment anonymously, with an identifiable nickname, or with your full name - your call. If you do comment anonymously, be sure to notify me so i can make sure you fulfilled this part of the assignment. (i will give a brief demo on commenting to blogs in class on thursday.)

8. bring your final essay to class on tuesday, december 6. make sure your name is on it.

tip: think about the timing of your media fast and strategize accordingly.

72 comments:

Dani Wong said...

This assignment reminded me that it’s important to disconnect from media every now and then. Disconnecting actually allows you to reconnect with the important people in your life, including yourself.

Meagan Cuthill said...

I am a member of the Web 2.0 generation, it cannot be helped. My life includes many facets of media that have to be consciously cut out of my life by assignments such as this to really acknowledge how linked in I am. My school work, my news, my entertainment, my relationships and so on are connected and maintained through employing new media.

Bailey said...

Admittedly, I use Facebook for vain purposes, as I don’t really care about what other people post. I stare at my page until someone comments on my status, or if I receive another notification. Utilizing Facebook and multiple websites at once hones certain multitasking skills, but also makes me fidgety when there’s nothing to be done. Escaping the burdens of updating people on my life and listening to people complain about their own allowed me to feel a calm I haven’t experienced for a long time.

David Boyle said...

I’d rather not get into details, but through a series of unintended events I found myself reading “Generation Why” on my Macbook while sitting on the toilet. At the same time, I was texting someone on my phone and could overhear my roommate blasting music outside of the bathroom. The toilet, usually a place of peace and solitude, was being contaminated with 3 different types of modern media.

Anonymous said...

"I noticed the things we do in life are always done with a little interference of technology. A simple walk outdoors requires earphones and an ipod. A chat over coffee is now done over miles in between with the a little thing we like to call, a cell phone. Cooking instructions no longer come from the 10 lb. cookbooks we buy mom for Christmas, they come from our easily accessible ipads... our world is consumed by technology."

Andie Vallee said...

This scared me, because it made me realize just how much time I spend in front of a monitor or screen, staring into a 2.0 world that is not real.

Reo Kobayashi said...

Throughout the media fasting, I realized how much I depend on electric devices and media, whether that be surfing the net, using my i-pod, using my cell phone, and other activities. I can’t imagine a life without them but simultaneously, I was able to experience and actually enjoy not using media at all because I felt I didn't have to deal with anything, whether that be a text from a friend, an email, facebook messages, calls, etc.

Stacy Metcalf said...

Henry Jenkins talks about how the new generation must be up to date with social media in order to thrive. I feel I am behind, but I don’t want to catch up...
I am a media consumer, and I always will be, but I think it is healthy to take a step back and realize not just what you are doing with the new media (as described in many of our readings), but what the media is doing to you. Jaron Lanier (referenced by Zadie Smith in ‘Generation Why?’) comments on this notion: “We know what we are doing “in” the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us?”

Leah Nadeau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leah Nadeau said...

Later after I painted I went back to my boyfriends and had some friends over, but we told them we couldn’t watch tv because of my media fast. We watch tv a lot of at my boyfriends, so we played Monopoly. I think I’m good on playing Monopoly for another 5 years, that game takes forever

Madeline said...

I underestimated its (Twitter's) abilities. I mainly used it to find friends, plan outings with them, or read Pimp Bill Clinton’s tweets. Now I use Twitter more and more to stay updated on current events and follow politicians and new (social media) marketing companies.

Ilse Gaona said...

For a while I’ve been thinking about how much time I invest in catching up on other people’s lives, people who don’t even matter to me. It’s such a weird concept, peering into lives that have nothing to do with yours and actually becoming invested in them. I’ve always been in awe, and sort of envious even, of people who either rarely go on social networking websites or don’t go on them at all. In my eyes, they have so much other stuff occupying their lives that they don’t have the time to waste checking Facebook.

Jordan said...

One thing I learned about myself during this assignment is that I’m too attached to my phone. I look at it all the time and it’s always in my hand whether I’m checking the time or texting. Even when it was turned off I kept on feeling a vibration in my bag.

Rob Marshall said...

When I was young, I remember having to wait. I remember having to wait to do a lot of things, but I really remember having to wait to go online. I believe that we, as a people of this earth, are in the middle of a worldwide, systematic extermination of a concept. It seems as though the idea of “wait” is disappearing before our very eyes, and, if I may be so bold, the virtue of “patience” as well. If we no longer had to wait for anything, if every impulse and desire was immediately accessible, would the proverbial phrase “patience is a virtue” cease to have meaning?

Jenny Merva said...

I was no longer part of this digital communication platform, and I was separated from the interaction that Web 2.0 provides its users every day. The article ("Mass Media Revolution") states that the web creates a collaboration of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of individual users each and every day, and I was not a part of this interaction anymore! I had freed myself of this online identity that in no way defines who I am in real life. I was allowing myself to be me, and only me—no more online illusions that may deter the characteristics of who I am in real life.

Dasha Fayvinova said...

What I found really interesting is that guys don’t use cellphones nearly as much in my group of friends than the girls. The guys didn’t see why my withdrawal was so difficult. The girls totally got it. It made me wonder if a cellphone is the new nose powder or maybe a purse. Something girls need to have on them or else they feel naked. Guys as always never need accessories thus a cellphone is just something to keep up with the times.

Claire Kirshner said...

I think had a nicer experience during my first media fast because it was a lot shorter. I was able to appreciate being unplugged but I didn’t get to a point where I was uncomfortable. This time I fasted for almost a day and experienced some boredom, anxiousness, and discomfort.

Sam Wilder said...

As a strategy I spent the entire day outside of my house so the media devices within my home wouldn’t tempt me.

Dylan Laycox said...

While during my fast I really only had difficulty coping without music and a phone I imagine if my fast had lasted longer I would have struggled mainly with not using the Internet. I am one of many who have joined the generation Charles Sterin calls generation web 2.0.

Jeremy Baril said...

The scary part about this media fast was not about not being able to physically go for a day -- or more -- without any form of media, but rather about realizing just how reliant we all are on media every waking moment. Going for about 20 hours without using any form of media was simply very inconvenient. The fact that in our culture we cannot be productive without using media is pretty scary, and while I’m a product of the Web 2.0 Generation, it is still scary to see our dependance on this products and gadgets increase with every passing year.

Joseph Wyatt said...

These media fasts have opened my eyes to how much my life revolves around these types of technologies. I can only imagine how it is going to be for future generations.

Unknown said...

Whenever I think of fasting, or it is mentioned in conversation, it is easy to first think of fasting in a religious context. My mother happens to be a strict practicing Christian and growing up in that household I have watched her fast with ease. There have been times I have witnessed her go weeks without solid food and is only nourished by her prayer. If my mom can go weeks without food, I should be able to fast from media for at least one whole day, shouldn’t I?

Dorian Davies said...

Once the phone prompted me to slide my finger across it to power it down, I did so and a took a deep breath. Knowing the monotony of the bus beforehand, I saw this as a test of will-power, as well as the perfect time to start my fast. Five minutes had passed and I was already feeling the grueling pain of boredom. Although there were plenty of things on the bus to occupy my wandering mind, I still felt as though I could be using my time more wisely... like playing Ninja Fishing or checking the statuses of friends.

Kate Ir said...

Getting home I crossed the St. and looked up to see "4... 3... 2... 1...," flash on the digital St. signal telling me how many minutes I had to cross & I realized how hard it can be to escape medias many mediums manifested in our world. So, almost inadvertently I was forced to forfeit what I could no longer ignore. The ease and self-sufficiency of media is as evident as extent of excess.

Genevieve said...

As I opened my mail box, there it was. My ticket to another month in San Francisco, aka, my paycheck. I realized that now I have a quest, non-media related. Rather than going online to do an online transfer. I will deposit my check at the bank, and finagle a banker to transfer the money online to my landlords account. Check. Yet another, usually-media-needed-problem solved.

Ernie said...

"I realized how I haven’t touched or even seen an encyclopedia in years, and realized that I am very much a 2.0 person. Whereas in 4th Grade where I used to get sidetracked from learning about California’s state flower by reading another entry about wild cougars, I now get sidetracked on Facebook while researching on the Internet."

Kailey Ducote said...

"Right off the bat what I found interesting was that I had a nightmare about the media fast that night before I started it. I don’t know if it was so much a nightmare but more of one of those dreams that keeps you tossing and turning in your bed to the point where you’re actually stressed out while you’re sleeping. I can’t quite remember exactly what happened in my dream but I do remember it revolving around me repeatedly accidently breaking the media fast in stupid little ways. For instance, my arm would just naturally reach for the remote and turn on the TV without my brain realizing it or I would grab my phone and text someone before I become aware of what I was doing. It was like a stream of subconscious reactions that I had no control over. I was so trained to use these items every day without any thought about it that I had to fight against my natural instincts to stop myself from using them."

AJ Frigillana said...

All these "social" networks have the potential to degrade our way of life. We can so easily be consumed by it. Why is no one angry about this?

Tory W. said...

The second that someone’s phone vibrated or chirped it was almost as though that person stepped out of the room for a moment as they read a new text, they were no longer present in the conversation that was taking place right in front of them. At one point I was the only person in the room who was not staring at their phone, as everyone responded to texts and tweets I continued to speak but somehow I felt like I was just talking to myself.

Emily L. said...

"On friday night, I stayed away from media by avoiding the television and the room where people were using their laptops, so I ended up barbequing burgers and talking more with people. One of the main things I noticed was that this media fast allowed me to do things that I did not normally do. For instance I was taking more walks and setting aside time for reading."

Anonymous said...

Had I tried this ten, or even five years earlier, it would have been a joke to me. Today, on the contrary, media has become such an ordinary part of our everyday lives that it is coming to the point where just imaging a world without it is a thing of the past. To think that our generation was born roughly around the same time the Internet was created is incredible considering how far it has advanced in the same time it took us to become young adults. One can only hope that our children will know what a book was, how music was originally sold, or how to play games and have fun without technology.

Julia Nielsen said...

In a single click I had access to the Google Weather, Google Books, my Gmail, Google Finance, ect. One thing (Google Chrome) had all these small parts of it that took up most of my attention and day and allowed me an incredible convenience with little effort going into thought or actual work.

Gabi Alejos said...

I had good conversation because I was talking to my REAL friends, I wasn’t carrying conversations with one of my “facebook acquaintances” as I’ve spent time doing in the past. As mentioned in “Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” by Malcolm Gladwell, Facebook is a place to manage your acquaintances, it is not a place for your real friends. Real life is for your real friends.

Foster Johnson said...

It was hard to get used to how quiet my surroundings were. I tried playing guitar for a while, but nothing seemed to help my craving for recorded music. As an artist, I really wanted to use my computer to mix music or DJ. However, by resisting this urge I was able to evaluate music’s role in my day-to-day lifestyle.

Jessica Stobie said...

o as much as I weirdly look forward to a media fast it is literally the hardest thing to do. I feel like I am cut off from the world without all my technology! The hardest part is the cell phone. I can live without watching TV or a movie probably for a week until I really start to fall behind on my shows and once again, feel like I am missing out, and while it is hard to quit facebook for long amounts of times, it is doable. But cutting myself off from Facebook AND my cell phone? Probably one of the hardest things of my life! (serious first world problems right there…) I have faith that I could do one or the other, because see, then I always have a way to communicate with people and not miss out on anything.

USF_Rugger said...

I knew I was in trouble early Sunday morning. It was now the bottom of hour number nineteen of my media fast and my long standing Sunday ritual of reading ESPN: The Mag on my iPad while manning my porcelain throne was in serious jeopardy. I had been up for just under 30 minutes and had to flush out a nights worth of beer, pizza and tobacco. While my bodily functions are neither relevant nor pleasant, the proverbial light bulb that went off amid a massive hangover is the grand thesis of this essay. As the digested pepperoni headed for water, I fully comprehended that, while a host of 2.0 gadgets are convenient and fun, they are the main source of income for large corporations, and I cannot help but submit to their pleasures.

Christian Gatwood said...

"At about 5pm on Sunday, I turned off my computer, shut off my phone, turned off the television and essentially cut myself off from the technological world."

Gina Palomar said...

I stopped my media fast Sunday night at 7:30pm when I turned my phone back on because I was worried someone was trying to reach me on updates about an event I am helping put together. Turns our this person had not yet contacted me, shows how worried we are we might be missing out on something – truth is we are missing out on something way more captivating by our consumption into the media world. I lasted 1 day, 9 hours, and 30 minutes.

Rico Jaeggi said...

What seems to be happening is a slowly accelerating declination into a far more media and technology centric global environment in which natural human interaction will become increasingly less common. The cell phone use on our campus alone proves this.

Natalie said...

Reflecting on this media fast allowed me to recognize aspects of the media I have never considered. We hear a lot that people from my generation have such a dependency on the Internet and I feel as though this always is viewed as a negative thing. I, however, came to realize this is not negative.

Lauren Grimaldo said...

Letting go of my fast was bittersweet because it was almost a hassle turning my phone on. It was like vacation time was over and I was going back to the grind.

Heidi said...

Radio has become part of almost everyone’s lives and is inevitable; I can’t even imagine it vanishing.

Cynthia Zepeda said...

The truth is, even when I’m on Facebook, I’m still bored, although I don’t think I am. I search for entertainment amongst the status updates, profile pictures, relationship statuses, and the Summer 2010 photo albums of the 548 friends that I definitely would not consider my friends outside of the cyber world. In my pathetic attempt be entertained, I waste countless hours observing the lives of people that I am no longer close to.

Anonymous said...

During OChem, my teacher relied on handouts and the blackboard for lecturing. Once I was in my second class of the day at 2:15PM, however, I had failed without knowing that I had failed my media fast. In my music class, my teacher was playing music from YouTube that she shared over the projector. I lasted under three hours.

Anonymous said...

” Granted, being on your phone can separate you from what happening at the moment, but this quote completely summarizes how society operates now. Social media companies are on the rise and now almost every aspect of life has to do with the internet.

Anonymous said...

As selfish as it sounds my foremost concern was not being able to text a certain female that I have been socializing with quite frequently as of late. We weren’t at the level of comfort where I could explain to her the assignment without awkwardness ensuing. I thought to myself, wow I might blow this due to an assignment for class! The worst part was that she lives in southern California which meant the only way I could really communicate with her was through social media. I decided that I would have to just bite the bullet and complete the assignment and explain later.

Ariel Chang said...

It’s up to us to decide whether we are the ones controlling our devices or if it is the devices controlling our lives.

Clément said...

I started my Media Fast on Saturday December 3, 2011. I woke up on my own accord, and reached for my computer that was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, I know myself and had hid the electronics the night prior. After calming the minor panic attack caused by the fear of loss of my closest companion, I started my day.

Nicole Nalty said...

I understand that I am a member of “Generation Facebook” and “Web 2.0”, but the day I spent without technology was one of the best days I've had in a long time. I did not experience many of the negatives that one could have during a media fast, and I completely understand that we have grown accustomed to using technology as a crutch for just about everything, but this media fast helped me to remember that social networks are no substitute for interpersonal social interaction.

Roxanne said...

This media fast made me think of the article we just read, “Generation Why?” by Zadie Smith. She referenced a phrase Mark Zuckerberg frequently uses; he said, “The site helps everyone connect with people.” I don’t think I have ever felt connected to people using Facebook.

Anna Elena said...

This is exactly what dawned on me during my walk. Everything had been lost with my phone or computer while in public places. People that I could have been talking to or meeting during my walk or stop in the coffee shop and been left unmet, simply because I didn’t care to look up from my Twitter feed or text message. This walk was different. I met people. I met a women who was a professional dog walker and she described the personalities of each dog she was walking. I even said, “Hello” to a couple moving into a new apartment. A one hour walk is all it took me to regain a little part of myself back, and individual character, a sense of how big the hills are or how high the rooftops are. Everything does shrink because our vision is so limited with technology always blinding it. I wonder what would happen if others started doing Media Fast during the weekends, would our society be able to regain everything that we have lost about ourselves?

Susan Walker said...

My goal for this second media fast was not to simply do better for a grade, but to personally challenge my control around media. Since this was my second attempt at a media fast, I was so much more prepared with what to expect and what I could do with my time.

Colin R said...

Knowing her to be a heavy sleeper, and being without a phone to call her with, I grabbed a handful of rocks to throw at her window. After I was unsuccessful with this endeavor, I ran into another friend of mine who brought me into the residence hall. Despite our combined media-free efforts (which included a lot of banging on doors and great efforts to remove my friend from her bed), she proved unshakable in her efforts to remain asleep.

Corin said...

At any given time I think that I can say that the majority of people who have some sort of technological device with them allows them to, check their email, communicate in some form, read, and have access to the internet. Because of this, it makes doing a media fast hard because we’re so used to being wired in, and we don’t even realize it. It’s almost as if these devices are a part of our bodies, and without them, we feel as though we’re handicapped.

Karin Hsu said...

When I was in the second grade, my parents handed me this odd device they also possessed, and when they clicked a few numbers on their gadget, mine would miraculously vibrate and allow me to choose whether or not I would like to “contact the person on the other side”. Yes folks, it was a cellphone. Some parents would say that a child in the second grade has no business having a cellphone but lets face it, kids are crazy; you never know where they’ve run off to once their parents, as my mother justified her occasional lack of attentiveness, “fail to maintain visual contact.” This is why my parents gladly handed me a device that would enable them to reach me anywhere anytime.

Chris Rogers said...

​Although I spent most of the time during my fast busy with school or sleeping, I still had a few gaps in between my classes where I was tempted to text someone on my phone, check Facebook or Twitter, or just go on my computer to surf the web in order to waste time. I found it very ironic that the reason that I broke my fast was school related; the only way that I could see my grade at that moment was to go online and check. I could have waited for the next class period to find out, or even until I finished my fast, but I just had to know right then and there. This highlights how much I feel I need immediate gratification, and how electronic media is starting to cause people to expect to be able to learn things and see things right away, whenever they want to.

August Krankl said...

It becomes staggeringly apparent that, even though we made these devices to alleviate many of the stresses of our lives, in reality they have done the opposite, and we have become slaves to them more than anything else.

Tim Perez said...

We agreed to meet at the Union Square coffee shop when we were finished, without the use of a phone. I felt like I was back in the 60’s since we had to have a rendezvous point and had uncertain timing about when I or she would finish.

Emily B. said...

"My grandparents are even 2.0-ers now. My grandfather, who grew up on a rural Kansas farm before moving to California in the ‘70s, and my grandmother, who grew up in a tiny town in Oklahoma where money was scarce, just bought themselves iPhones and aren’t half bad at using them. They text me instead of calling now, which is both hilarious and, honestly, super convenient."

Katherine Achterman said...

Here I am, Monday afternoon, locked out of my house with no money or means of communication, submitting my brain to the antics of insipid reality TV stars, while I listen to the geriatric population of the Haight order their stool softeners and the youth, their birth control.

Anonymous said...

In society today you need media to survive. My name is Farrell Huntley and I am a media addict. At 5pm on Saturday December 3rd I broke my media fast my checking my cell phone.

Kirsten Macfadyen said...

2:30 p.m. The ending to my media fast was tragic and unexpected. My roommates and I were feeling beyond lazy today so we drove to the library instead of walk (only a block and a half away). All was fine until I realized I was belting the lyrics of Adele’s single “Set Fire to the Rain”...on the radio. I had ruined my fast due to the enticing voice of Adele, and was now ready to get my homework done in the library...with my laptop. I finally charged my phone and was greeted with 8 text messages and 3 missed calls from my mother and 0 Facebook notifications. Realization number two from media fast, not popular enough to be so obsessed with my phone. My fast lasted for 11 hours and it is safe to say that I am a recovering addict.

Anonymous said...

My favorite T.V shows don’t start until late Monday night when my media fast is over (after all Professor’s tip on his blog did say “think about the timing of your media fast and strategize accordingly”)

Meiping Guo said...

I realized that the only way to make study efficient was cutting off all the electric tools from me. During the 2 hours of study, I had my 100% attention on what I did, there was no distraction.

Marissa Jacy said...

A simple walk through the food court and everyone standing in line was glued to their iPhones as if their life depended on it.

Justine said...

Our interface with a world that is not real is replacing our interacting with our very real world.

Anonymous said...

The updating of Facebook and all of that was one thing I did not miss. Constant status changes and pictures from some of my “friends” on Facebook gets really old. I find myself using the app less and less throughout a semester of taking this class. It seems to me that learning about how new media works and came into mass use makes me want to use certain aspects of it less, if that makes sense.

Lauren Gomez said...

Just like the last fast, I was able to get so much work done, such as homework and laundry, but this time there was something different. I actually had “me” time to reflect and for once in a long time just relax in the present. I am constantly worrying about the future, how I am going to get work finished on time, and in today’s society, worrying how I will use my degree to get a job. It was very nice to think with a clear mind and really just be grateful for everything I have. I also began to reflect on the lecture you gave last Thursday to us in class about your media experience and how we should just do what we want to do.

Aisha said...

As I took technology out of my life, I felt myself coming back to the real world. This reminded me of all of the things that I have been missing out on while I was so preoccupied with texting or sitting on the computer. I began to appreciate the little things around me, like a clear, blue sky and how good a room smells when there’s a Christmas tree in it.

Anonymous said...

There is some aspect and allure about being off the grid in a way; you really have a lot more time to yourself and time to contemplate and do other things. I realized that so much of my time is spent using some sort of technology, and most of the times I’m just using it mindlessly, which is not beneficial and a waste of time.

Gerardo Hernandez said...

This class is close to four hours in length and I missed my phone but gained something else. It gave me the excuse to talk to the person next to me. I have been in that class weekly since late August and every break people are immersed in their phones or laptop, I included.

kaitlynfitzpatrick said...

Amusingly, what I did not originally consider is the fact that we have already done this. Although highly difficult to conceive, there was once a time when there existed not one of these tools, machines, gadgets, widgets, thingamabobs, doodlebops, or whatever the name is designated for the true phenomena that is rapidly accessible technological media.
With this in mind, I approached take two of the media fast with a completely different, and much more optimistic outlook. As with my prior fast, I started the clock at the beginning of my work shift (figuratively speaking, of course, seeing as how to my consciousness - much like the rest of us born too late to enjoy the true artistry of Madonna in her prime - clocks, and perhaps even time itself did not exist until the invention of phones, laptops, and what have you).