Matt Potter 6 p.m., May 24
- Community Blog
The Spectacular 22 Hour Media Fast!
It was supposed to be 24 but this proved impossible because I live with other humans.
I was doomed before rebirth.
I woke up like any regular day, with a marshmallow of a dog staring up at me with big, dark eyes.
I turned the radio off as I drove my little brother to school. We listened to the rain instead. It was too early for mouth noises.
Once home, I jerked my head away from an Anderson Cooper recording on the TV.
I was fasting and it felt good.
I was determined not to fail at this like those New Year's resolutions that don't keep.
If I was successful maybe this would become a trend. Then I realized that there were no hashtags here to send word to the Twitterverse and describe what this media-less world was like.
Without a mechanical device to make a virtual record of what I was doing, for 22 hours that day, I simply did not exist.
It was like not having facebook all over again.
My 24 hour hour media fast taught me something about myself.
I am exposed to media way too much.
So much so, that it makes me tense. It doesn't help that I study journalism.
J school demands Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.
Then I need TweetDeck, HootSuite and Buffer to manage all of these social media networks more efficiently.
During my media fast, my family was mostly accommodating, but at times forgot that I couldn't call anyone or “watch this” with them. I was free from watching segments of afternoon talk shows and video game replays. Free from the scrutiny of watching my followers on twitter unfollow me in disgust.
Late in the afternoon my family coaxed me into watching a movie with them. It was about a boy who sprouts from a garden. Watch the movie, they said. Its only two hours, they said.
After breaking my sacred vow, I put on my running shoes and crept outside into the sunlight.
I ran without music, slowly, to the beat of my own drum, which is a conga. I have no rhythm, so my conga drum was never able to match my heartbeat and turn on the ignition, rev me up. Instead I started up, slowed down, fell down, rolled around in the grass, got a cramp, stood up, stretched, did half a pull up...Eventually I got into enough of a groove to run what I believe to be a mile, I didn't have technology to verify.
Then, came the observation.
Never noticed that branch.
How beautiful is this view?
I took my time running and drinking water when I got back.
I gave my dog a bath. I even tidied up the garage.
I read like 6 hours. A couple of self improvement books and one on, what else: the ways in which television is destroying our noggins. Granted, television is so, yesteryear, but to be honest, the arguments in the book are more relevant today than they were then.
The author would have soiled his undergarments if he'd seen what the internet could do. Someone on reddit--yes, I'm quoting a post from reddit, it's only a matter of time before proper citation of reddit comments makes it into the new AP Style book, heck tweets are in MLA already.
A question was posted on reddit: “If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?”
A notable response was:
“I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.”
Not everyone looks at pictures of cats pushing their heads through bread, some of us prefer dogs, but to dwell on that is missing the point. There's a lot of information out there and we need to be weary of what we deem valuable to our society. Whether that's cats pushing their heads through pieces of Wonder Bread or something else.
One argument the author made was that we would eventually destroy ourselves because we wouldn't care what we were watching as long as we were being entertained.
Our attention spans are shrinking and wouldn't it be wild, if in the the future, the only way to keep said attention is to look at pictures of cats?
I would like to do another media fast, this one for a full 24 hours, once a month. Now that my media fast is over, I will consume as much media as I can so that I can go into hibernation for my next fast.