MJiii: A Day Without Media

4.17.17

I’ve been dreading this assignment for the majority of this semester. I am completely aware of my constant media and technology use daily and I have to say that I am completely content with it. In preparation for this assignment I finished homework early, told my friends and family about the assignment, and cleared my schedule.

Waking up without an alarm on the radio was difficult, but not scrolling through my social media and text messages was even more difficult. I made sure to wear a watch so that I wouldn’t be tempted to check my phone. I kept my phone with me all day in case of emergency, but turned the “Do Not Disturb” mode on to prevent me from being alerted of text messages. As I drove to class in silence, the drive seemed abnormally long. I will admit I was much more focused than usual. I normally do not text and drive, but I might change the song on my phone or sing along to the radio on a normal day. But this day was no normal day.

Sitting through class without checking my phone was a struggle also. I’d like to say that this made me a better student, but I’m afraid not. Instead of focusing on the lesson, I caught myself wondering about what my friends were discussing in the group chat or what leftover Easter pictures I was missing on my Instagram feed. After class I was headed to work. On Mondays I always stop to get a coffee on the way. Normally I would text in my order ahead to save time in the drive though, but this was not an option. I decided to forgo the coffee (I know, I can’t believe I survived this day without coffee OR my phone, either).

Our radio at work is currently broken so I was not worried about avoiding that form of media. Both of my bosses were out for the day, and it was a relatively slow day for sales, so I sat in silence for upwards of 4 hours, before my co-worker joined me. Instead of being on our phones, she and I talked about her upcoming interviews for graduate schools. Not being on my phone and social media allowed me to connect with her on another level than normally. Leaving work, I was beginning to feel like this experiment was a success.

The day before this experiment I had arranged to meet a friend at a local park to run and hammock. This is not normally something I would be doing on a Monday afternoon; I don’t enjoy exercise. We ran and talked and hammocked for almost three hours. I enjoyed the time outside and with my friend. I sometimes feel too busy and rushed to do those types of things. Not being on my phone helped me connect with my friend and nature. Driving home, I tried to enjoy the quietness. By the time I got to my house I was ready for some type of media. I was craving it. I decided to just go to bed early because I couldn’t take it any longer.

Waking up the next morning felt like Christmas. I was more awake and ready for the day. This probably had more to do with me not scrolling through my social net works for an hour and a half before I finally fell asleep sometime around midnight like I normally would have. I missed the interactions I have on a daily basis with those that are not immediately in my surroundings. I missed seeing what my friends at other schools were doing and hearing about what mom was doing and talking to my boyfriend in between classes about his day. I did enjoy the break from unnecessary news releases from our local media and the annoying Facebook requests from friend’s distant relatives. The assignment was not as bad as I had expected it to be. I’m not sure I would do it again by choice, even though I did learn a lot about my media use and dependency. Overall I would give myself a 4/10 in media use. I do depend on my media and online interactions with others, but I don’t feel as though it controls everything about me. It would be in credibly hard for me to be a 1, considering I hope to have a career in social media someday. In the future, I think I will set my phone aside and spend time with those close to me when I have the opportunity. Until then, I will just try and limit my use of media to only when I need it, not just when there is nothing else to do.

Public Relations

Ch. 12
Honesty

I think Ivy Lee would roll over in his grave if he knew what was happening in today’s public relations world. It is very rare that a PR professional takes honesty and openness with the public seriously. Most PR professionals’ loyalties are with their client. This does not serve the public well. A great and recent example is the United Airlines scandal. United did not chose the correct course of action in dealing with the overbooking issue. If I am honest, United Airline’s PR has been spiraling for sometime now. Starting with poor customer service, mistreatment of animal cargo, and now the abuse of a paying customer, their PR professionals have lost all control of the mentality of being “open and honest” with the public.

Advertising

Ch. 11
Products

In this society, it is near impossible to not be influenced by advertising, celebrities, and products. Style says so much about a person and can be directly related to what influences them. A lot of the products I can relate to this chapter are beauty and fashion related. For example, many skin care products and makeup advertise slogans about a “healthy glow”. This can be moisturizer that makes your makeup look more natural, self tanners, highlighting products that make your fave appear brighter. Whatever the product is, this example show that myself and others buy into the notion that a “glow” is the cool-girl, in-style trend. These products say a lot about me I’m sure, but I’d like to think they mainly say I take pride in the way I present myself not just for the impression or opinions or others, but also for the confidence in feeling I look my best. Who know? This could be another advertising tactic from the media.

Online Media

Ch. 10
Video Games

Before taking this course, I might not have categorized video games as mass communication. There are a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have considered communication. I have never been much of a “gamer”. Aside from the basic Mario Kart or Donkey Kong at a friend’s house growing up, I don’t have much experience with video games. Due to my lack of experience, video games are not something I consider when thinking about the ways advertisers and media communicate to me.

After listening to the class discussion (I obviously did not have any input), it became very apparent to me that there were so many people that use video games and are very committed to the different brands and communities with in the gaming world. It is clear now that advertisers saw a huge opportunity to reach this specific target audience and are taking advantage of it. Because video games have the ability to reach a very wide range of people, I would consider them to be a mass medium.

 

Television

Chapter 9:
When and Why

I don’t have much spare time to watch television. If I get the chance I have a few shows like “The Bachelor,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” and “Fixer Upper.” Most of the time I watch television shows through a streaming service. I do think that you can watch too much television. Unless your channel of choice is something like The Discovery Channel or PBS you’re probably not learning much. After an extended period of time watching television I feel like there could be negative health effects.

Movies

Chapter 8:
A Night at the Movies

Personally, I don’t enjoy going to the movies. I like the idea of it. The price of a movie ticket is so grossly disproportioned that it is not worth it to me. The price of the ticket and the DVD that comes out a month later is the same. With one, you can watch it once; with the other, you can watch it infinitely.

Audio

Chapter 7:
Personal Music Players

In today’s society, we often try to separate ourselves and disconnect from one another. One way this is done, is through music. Before the age of personal music players and MP3s, people used music to interact with one another. I do feel that there are still ways to connect with people through music. For instance, there are many online forums and websites and social media accounts dedicated just for this. Headphones separate people from strangers around them.

Newspapers and the News

Chapter 6:
Minority in the Media

There is absolutely no purpose or reason for a gender or ethnicity to be included in a quote for a news story. Yes, being a woman or minority race may result in a different insight, but that should be apparent through word and thought. A minority point of view is very useful, but not necessarily more so than anyone else’s. Some may argue that it may give credibility to the story. This is where modern society’s definition of feminism comes into play. Feminism in today’s society is often misunderstood as the advancement of women. In reality, it is actually the advocacy of women’s rights. This way of thinking can be applied to any minority. The simple fact that someone is part of a minority does not define them. It does not hinder nor advance them.

MJii: You and the Media

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.

Magazines

Chapter 5:
Change Over Time

Magazines have always been a large part of my life. Growing up I remember My mom saving all of her Southern Living and Home & Garden magazines. I would always look through them at all of the flowers, deserts, and southern styled homes and dream about the future. Then as I got older, I would cut pictures out and paste them together to make colleges and art projects through the years. Eventually I started to read “teen” magazines like Tiger Beat and Magazine. Now I prefer to read Vogue,  Elle, and Harper’s Bazar.

All three of these magazines provide content it’s readers cannot get elsewhere. This includes exclusive interviews and photoshoots with models specific for each magazine’s content. They also adapt to social changes and ape the public’s views of major societal issues by following the latest fashion and beauty trends. In addition, all three of these magazines are full of advertisements and that’s one of the things readers are actually looking for. In particular, Vogue is one of the largest magazines in the world with over 150 pages in each issue: the majority of which are ads.

For a while models were pictured as tall slender women with perfectly tanned, toned legs. Then people began to say it is promoting an “unhealthy body image” or “body dysmorphia” so the models and trends are beginning to see a shift. Magazines change because the desires of their audience changes. None of these changes could be considered “good” or “bad” just a phase. All these changes make for better magazines because ultimately it is a business so they should produce content that their readers want.