I have to admit that when Dr. Sitton assigned this media journal, I was anxiously excited. A full 24-hours without any sort of media? “I can totally do this,” I thought. No stress, no drama, and no outside frustration for a whole day! It sounded good to me, but, while I did enjoy a peaceful day with my family, I learned that I’m not quite ready to give up media completely.
My mom, Ruby Crow, came in from Oklahoma the weekend of November 11. What a great opportunity to give up the ever present cellphone, and have some real face-to-face interaction with one of the most important people in my life. I decided to start my 24-hour period the evening of Saturday, November 12. I figured it would be easy to knock out that first group of hours with sleep. Honestly, sleep is not something I’ve been very familiar with this semester, so I jumped at the chance to unplug for a while. When mom’s in town, we rarely go to bed before 11 p.m., and this weekend was no different. I put my phone down around 10 p.m. that Saturday night. We talked, laughed, did some holiday planning, wrapped Christmas gifts, and just enjoyed some girl time.
Although I love Verge Church, I opted to sleep in on Sunday, November 13 and avoid the media presented in worship/sermon form. My son, Sebastion, was nice enough to let us actually sleep late, and I didn’t roll out of bed until almost 9:30 a.m. After showers, and getting ready for the day, we took a preplanned trip up to my granddad’s cabin in Mammoth Spring, AR. I purposely chose to visit him during my 24-hour media fast because there’s no cell service at granddad’s, which eliminated a large part of any temptation to reach for my phone throughout the day. I will say, though, the drive up to the cabin was the hardest part of my day. No media equals no music consumption. What?! How on earth can I survive without the acoustic greatness of Boyce Avenue for an entire day?! The answer is reluctantly. But, I did it and I didn’t die.
My mom had a nine-hour trip back to southwest Oklahoma Monday morning, November 14, so we headed back to Bay, and returned home around 7:15 p.m. so she could pack up, and head to bed early.
Overall, I’d say the day was somewhat difficult, but the peacefulness of spending the day with my family, in the midst of nature, around the fire pit, was well worth any discomfort I felt. Sometimes my brain needs a break, and turning off my cellphone is especially helpful when I need to destress.
More than anything, I missed music. It’s a constant part of my day, and after going 24-hours without it, I realized how much I listen to it. The soundtrack of my life is a constantly-evolving rotation of different genres. I did not miss the hatefulness that has consumed my social media threads lately. The negativity that has consumed every facet of the world seemed to disappear that day. It was almost like other people’s burdens were lifted off my shoulders.
I’m not sure I could say that there was any real effect on my social contacts. Between the work chaos of preparing for December’s commencement, going to school, being a mom, and our church involvement, I don’t particularly socialize much outside of those areas. I’m not necessarily an introvert. I just genuinely don’t have the time for much of a social life.
I’ve enjoyed the media journals, and how they’ve brought awareness to my media habits—the good and the bad. I would probably rate myself as a six on the media consumption scale. I’d like to say it’s less than that, and that I don’t rely on media for my life to work properly, but that’s an unrealistic statement. The truth is, I work at ASU, so even if I gave up the media I chose to partake in outside of work, I’d still spend at least seven hours each day on the computer reviewing student degree evaluations, answering the phone, and responding to email inquiries.
If I take anything away from these media journals, I’d like for it to be a decrease in my social media consumption. It’s so easy to turn to scrolling when I have any down time, and although it is great to keep up with those who don’t live near me, for the most part, those feeds aren’t really useful for much of anything other than spewing hateful opinions at those who believe differently than you.
I would absolutely recommend this project to others. Sometimes the best answer is just to enjoy life without the electronic devices meant to keep us connected. To an extent, media has a tendency to do the opposite.
For the record, the accompanying pictures were not taken that day. I avoided photography during my media fast as well.