MJiii: Life Without Media

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.

cabinMy 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.

cabin2My 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 cabin3work 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.

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MJii: My Media Use

Following 21 days of recording my media usage, I wasn’t necessarily surprised of the outcome. While we live in a very technologically driven society, I work full-time, and attend school part-time; therefore, I don’t have too much spare time to enjoy media leisurely. Below, I will discuss in depth the impact that my media usage has in my life, as well as those around me.

After review, my patterns are pretty consistent, and did not change much throughout the span of the assignment. I’m not certain I’d say that my media usage peaks on Wednesdays; however, that is my long day, so media access is required for a longer amount of time. As far as what day is composed of the least amount of media usage, I would typically assert Sunday would be that day. Although I do homework, and study, on Sundays, the car radio is really the only other media usage I partake in on that particular day unless a phone call, or text message, is necessary.

Even though I consider myself a very busy person, as I mentioned before, we’re constantly surrounded by media in technology form. I’m not immune from those influences. What I have noticed, as far as my media consumption goes, is that music speaks to me. There are very few hours of the day that music is not playing in the background of my life.

In consideration of my family, which consists of myself and my son, we listen to music together, and occasionally watch television. The only other time media really involves both of us is if I’m helping him study, if we attend a concert, or in the rare instance we attend a movie. He is old enough now to have his own cell phone, but I don’t want him to grow up with his phone permanently attached to his hand, so we both limit our cell phone usage. At one point, he made a comment about how much time I spent on my phone, so I’m very careful now about not missing life due to having my nose stuck in my cell phone. If I had recorded my media usage two years ago, this blog post would’ve painted a very different picture.

I spend multiple hours each week communicating with my co-workers, whom I consider peers, via email. I constantly have to discuss graduation issues with advisers, chairs, and deans, as well as staff within my office to determine if students are eligible for their degrees. This bleeds over into how my media usage impacts my occupation.

The only way I can think to relate my media preferences to where I live would be the use of local radio stations. These stations oftentimes alert me to area happenings.

As sad as it sounds, I really don’t have any hobbies at this point in life. My world is consumed with work, school, parenting, and church. I will say, however, that anything I enjoy doing generally involves music, whether that is by car radio, Pandora, live concerts, or my Google playlist. Music helps me focus, alleviates stress, and just makes me happy.

In conclusion, I think this project is a great exercise, although I would be willing to bet that media usage is higher among those younger than me, as they are at a different point in life. I can definitely see how reviewing the results of monitoring our media usage would curb the media “appetite” of some students, and make them reevaluate how much time is spent with particular mediums.

MJi: Generational Media Differences

My mother, Ruby Jeanette Crow, 61, was born Sept. 23, 1954 in St. Louis, MO. She moved to Jonesboro, AR when she was 12 years old, and currently resides in Hobart, OK, where she is the Assistant Scanning Coordinator at United Supermarkets. Although she visits a few times each year, I conducted a phone interview with her on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.

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From left: Jodi Moore and Ruby Crow enjoy a New Kids on the Block concert in Oklahoma City in 2013.

When asked about her favorite type of media, Crow expressed that she especially enjoys social media, such as Facebook, and a physical copy of a newspaper. On a daily basis, she encounters media through social media on her cell phone, television, and radio.

Even though she was quite young, Crow’s favorite media memory was the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, which took place in 1961. She remembers watching the event on television in black and white, and reading about it in all of the newspapers she could get her hands on.  Likewise, the most memorable historic event mom witnessed through the media was the assassination of Kennedy just a couple of years later. She emphasized the overwhelming feeling of mourning the entire country felt in the days that followed, and noted that at that point in history, the media had evolved into something that could unify people throughout the nation.

Crow concluded by saying, “Life seemed simpler without all the media options. We were somewhat sheltered since we didn’t have instantaneous access to all the bad stuff.” She asserted that there are pros and cons to living in an overwhelming media world.

I also wanted a different perspective, so I spoke with my son, Sebastion Thomas Moore, 14. He was born in Jonesboro, AR on Aug. 14, 2002. When he was two years old, we moved to Hobart, OK, where we lived for 10 years, before moving back to northeast Arkansas. We now reside in Bay, AR. Moore is an eighth grader who is an avid reader, loves playing percussion, excels at Chess, and thoroughly enjoys spending time at Barnes & Noble. For this assignment, we took some time after church on September 18 to talk about our media usage.

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From left: Jodi and Sebastion Moore take in a May 2016 baseball game at Busch Stadium.

When asked about his favorite type of media, Moore quickly responded, “Books!” For the most part, he enjoys learning about Greek mythology, and reading young adult fiction; however, he also occasionally likes to read about the origin and evolution of percussion instruments. During a typical day, Moore is exposed to the Internet, books, television, radio, and his cell phone.

As far as his favorite media memories, he mentioned watching the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2011 World Series, and more recently, watching Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields win Miss America 2017. He did ask me to mention that I forced him to watch the latter, but he was proud of Miss Arkansas nonetheless. The historic media moment Moore most strongly recalls happened in December 2015, when his Intro to Keyboarding teacher decided to livestream the events going on at Arkansas State University, which involved Brad Bartelt driving onto campus with a gun, gasoline, and a propane tank. This was extremely scary since I work in the Student Union, and his texts were not coming through to me while we were on lockdown, so he had no idea if I was safe.

Moore asserted that without so many media options, it would be hard to get information. “I’d feel disconnected from the rest of the world,” he said.

I feel that I share the use of media mediums with my mom and my son. Like my mom, I prefer a physical copy of a newspaper over an online version, and in line with my son, I access the Internet daily. Because my mom grew up in a generation when media was much more limited than currently, when my son has access to information at his fingertips every second of the day, I think I fall somewhere in between with the amount of media I consume. I do have a tendency to take in a lot of media online, so I probably line up more with my son in where I get my information.

Media choice could potentially affect knowledge of local and national issues depending on how limited your access is, the bias of the owner of the media outlet, and how much a person chooses to research. For example, if I take the word of one news broadcast, and don’t bother to get the opposing point of view, I’ve limited my knowledge. Because I spend a lot of time on a college campus, I have the luxury of conversing with many knowledgeable faculty members who specialize in certain areas. I feel as if this expands my viewpoint in various areas. Even if their opinions don’t change my mind, I do appreciate conversations with knowledgeable adults.

I don’t believe our media usage make our values different, because I think that values are something that are strongly passed down through generations. With that said, I also believe that my son will be thrust into a world of political correctness that my mom and I did not have to live through. Things that are against what we believe will be very openly in his face on a regular basis due to the media world we live in; whereas, we had to deal less with those issues.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this assignment. It’s nice to take a look at things from the past, and somewhat create a “timeline” of media usage. I wasn’t actually surprised at the media we have in common. My hope is that we will continue to explore new types of media as they become available, yet not forget how to communicate face-to-face without the use of technology.