At the start of this assignment, I didn’t know what to think or expect. Going into it, I tried to predict what the out come of this personal experiment would be. I am not naive to think that the media uses me or that I use it. I am well aware of its involvement in my life. I wrote in the begging that “I feel moderately dependent on my use of media, but I do not feel as though it controls my life.”
Through the first days of the journals, I became hyper aware of my media use. Tracking every minute of media makes me realize home much of it and how many different types I use. For the first three to four days my media mostly consisted of using my phone as an alarm and for social media. Radio was also very prevalent in my daily routine, which I didn’t realize until this assignment. Other than those two the only other main media I used was the books I was studying out of. Studying PR and communication changes the way I think about things and can give me a new perspective. At the end of the days I would watch a few minutes of the News with my Dad. We primarily watch Fox in our home so when the news began talking about President Trump’s tax returns I was annoyed at the way the media was presenting it.
Over the next two days, consisting of the weekend to start off spring break, I took a break from my phone because the service was not as good and I spent some much-needed time with close friends. This time was busy for me so I did not have access to much media other than the radio stations my friends picked. At the time, I wanted to be on my phone more, but ultimately I am very thankful for the time I spent with friends because of my lack of media use.
Starting day seven the main forms of media I was using were books. Reading the Bible and songbooks at church had a larger, more obvious impact on me than my radio or social media had over the last few days. Later on in the day I watched television, specifically the college basketball tournament. I don’t know much about basketball to begin with, so I would not say watching it changed my behavior or patterns of media use other than normally I don’t watch it, but since they are important games the people I am with will be watching therefore I am too. Throughout the day I check my social media for small portions of time. Day eight was more of a normal day for me. Listening to the radio for hours while I was at work and also watching YouTube videos. Watching YouTube videos does affect my behavior because I watch them for that purpose. There are lots of “how to” makeup videos and opinion based content that changes the way I think about products. When there is not much to do while I am working, I periodically browse through multiple social media sites.
Day nine of the media journals and my first real day of spring break I went to Memphis to an art museum. Listening to music all the way there and back I began thinking about how music affects our daily lives. I make a point to listen to positive, uplifting music because I feel happier. Positive music affects my mood, which affects my interactions with others and my overall outlook on life. All afternoon at the museum was fun and very insightful. Art to me is one of my favorite forms of media because it is a conversation between the artist and viewer. As a spectator it is interesting and makes me consider what the artist was thinking about as they created the pieces. Day ten was my only other day off from work this week so I spent it in bed watching television for the most part. Social media is much more involved in my day when I am not in school. During a normal school week I am too busy to check it in between classes and everything else I have going on so it is normally a three or four time thing each day, but while on break it seems to be more often like a few times each hour. I watched a show called The Blacklist and it is mostly about government conspiracies. It is a fictional show but it makes me think about real things that have happened and the way the government and media talk about them.
The next two days seemed to go monotonously and I passed the time watching YouTube and listening to the radio while I worked. Still checking my social media periodically I am becoming more and more jealous of people that are traveling over the break. I’m beginning to feel like media negatively affects my mood and the way I view things through the screen. Day 13 is busy for me. I’m using my social media as a way to get awake since I slept until I woke up. I listened to music while I got ready and on the way to town and while I cleaned. This time I listened to rap music, which did not help my mood. Cleaning is not something I enjoy so this may not have been the best choice being that it is generally negative. I watched more basketball games and browsing social media while sitting at a fundraiser at a local restaurant for hours. I don’t feel like this positively or negatively changes my behaviors. After that I went to see a movie and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was creepy and scary and not generally my type of movie anyway. This is the first time throughout this experience that I have felt this negative about any of the media I consumed.
The 14th day of this assignment was hectic and I struggled to keep up with my logs. The first media I used on this day was my phone for an alarm and of course Instagram to follow. I had intended to go to church but I didn’t feel well so I stayed home and slept some more. I watched Netflix, but I wasn’t very in to it because I was cooking at the same time. I finished up some homework I had been putting off and that left me feeling exhausted. Watching some more Netflix then listening to the radio on my way to town. Positive music put me in a better mood for my sorority meeting. During our meetings, we are not allowed to have our phones, but we do use media in our meetings by placing dates and info on a TV screen so all can see it. I go home after the meeting and spend a few hours on various social medias. Looking at everyone’s pictures from trips makes me a little jealous but it occurs to me that I had a stress free break so I’m in an okay mood again.
The last day of this media experiment brought me full circle. It is our first day back to classes, so when my alarm goes off I’m not happy about it. I listen to some positive music on the way to class and I’m trying to think about how lucky I am to even go to college and I’m in a great mood by the time I get to class. I go to work directly after and listen to the work radio. After work, I spent some time watching TV with a friend. I wouldn’t say the show its self influenced me, but more so my friend’s opinion on it. I later spent the rest of the day studying and doing homework.
I think this assignment shows that I really let my core values and outlook on life shine through my daily interactions with media. It ultimately proved that I have a mostly positive attitude toward life in general. My friends and family for the most part share the same attitudes and opinions about media I think. Multiple times during these two weeks I recall explaining the assignment and having meaningful conversations about the purpose of it and what i’m learning with my friends and family. A lot of what I am doing or involved in has music in the background. Until this assignment I was completely unaware of the magnitude of time spent listening to the radio. With this came my understanding of the area I live in. Public radio has many ads for the specific area and on the one day I traveled to another state this was made very clear to me, because I was not hearing the same ads. A lot of my media time was used on studying even though it was spring break. Since I am a full time student this did not surprise me much.
Overall, this experiment opened my eyes to my own media use. I don’t feel like the media uses me. I feely grossly aware of the large portions of my day that are wasted on social media or watching meaningless television shows. I have no doubt that if I were to cut out even half of my media use, I would be overall more productive and happy. I don’t think I could ever get rid of my media use completely, but I could definitely stand to cut back. These 15 days really taught me that I don’t enjoy multitasking and that I focus on one thing at a time.