Hello fellow Meebus!
Welcome to my first official blog post. So I’m taking a communications/journalism class right now, and we had to do this 24 hr media blackout. Basically that means no phone, no computer, no media at all in general.
I started at 7pm this past Saturday, and immediately was bored. So I decided to organize my school supplies in the meantime, and had the sudden need to tweet the boredom I was feeling, because I was so disconnected from my friends and family. Before the blackout, I had easy access to everything, and then I didn’t, so this separation anxiety made me want to tell everyone that I was doing this challenge even more!
So I decided to walk around the frat house since I was roughed out, and the first things I hear walking out of my room were, “Did you see my snapchat?” and “Let me ask the group chat what’s going on.” These were two things that I could not participate in, although very tempting.
1hr and 30 mins in, I picked up a phone call from my girlfriend Tracey, and Kenny my neighbro who also lives on the first floor, shouted “Phones are social media Sean!” This was my first strike, because the rule is three strikes and you’re out. Right?
After the phone call, I continued my pursuit of avoiding loneliness and boredom, so I entered my neighbro Kenny’s room, to play a card game called Bang. While waiting for others to settle in, everyone was all on their phones, since there was no active conversation (just to fill the “awkward” silence). We played Bang for around two hours, and I wanted to check my phone for updates from people who needed to contact me, but I had left it in my room and I was not supposed to check it anyway. During our game time, there was Spotify music playing on Kenny’s computer and he had a free account (not premium), so every five or six songs there would be ads, so I was indirectly listening to Spotify there. After game time and a few brews in our bellies, we all went to sleep.
Next morning 8:30 AM, I woke up and checked Facebook messenger on accident since I reached for my phone which was on my desk.. oops!
I stayed up since I couldn’t go back to sleep, and could not stand the boredom, as I knew that I had no plans for the rest of the day, so I caved in and texted my dad to pick me up for a ride home back to Torrance, my hometown.
On the ride home, my dad had the radio playing, and at home the television was on the Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys football game; my dad just told me it was ancillary television, since he knew that I was not supposed to use media. Ha! Both the radio and television had played advertisements. And I finished off the black out watching the game.
So I learned, from this blackout, that no matter how hard you try to avoid it, media is all around us and ingrained in our daily lives. And since everyone around you is using social media, if you’re not using it then you’re in danger of becoming irrelevant due to the information that you’re not getting. Therefore, it was too difficult for me to stay away from social media for that long, especially in an urban setting like USC, because I needed information to get to me faster, and the instant gratification that came with it.
And although I broke the rules (I am not sure if you value honesty over completing the task without breaking the rules here), I still felt liberated after the blackout. Not being able to participate in social media felt weird. So going back to watching Youtube videos, mostly sport highlights videos and “Let’s Play” videos, was a refreshing feeling. I also watched other people play video games on Twitch.tv; still not sure why I watch other people play video games, but its actually a growing community.
And then the biggest thing that happened after my blackout was that, all within ten minutes, I checked GroupMe, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, all before I caught myself sitting on the toilet seat. In GroupMe you contact a group of friends, Facebook Messenger you typically message people individually, Instagram you check people’s highlights through pictures and captions, Twitter you check trending things that are going on in the world, and then Snapchat you check your friends recent stories. All of these applications involve communication and information trading, but all with different objectives. I didn’t care too much about these apps at all until i didn’t have it which was an interesting observation. For example, when I first started my blackout, I all of a sudden cared about people I didn’t even know in real life, and had a need to know what they were doing.
Well, this was my first blog of many. Hope to see you in the next one!