This weekend I attempted the unthinkable, going without media for the ENTIRE TWO DAYS. Rest assured, I’m still alive, and able to post about it. I thought it would be relatively easy. I mean, c’mon! People have done it for thousands of years, how hard could it be?

It’s freaking impossible.

The above article states that the average American teenager, with multitasking factored in, spends almost 11 hours per day interacting with some form of media. How could I fight it?

iPhone: It’s Magic.

Day one was spent easing into things. I woke up and remembered the forum post I had made the night before asking for suggestions for books I should read. Eagerly, I snatched up my iPhone and flicked my way into my Safari App. But wait… I shouldn’t be using my phone. I then battled myself for about 30 seconds in an intense inner monologue:

“Reading a forum post is going to take a minute at the most. Aren’t you excited to read what books people are going to recommend you?”

“Absolutely, but this assignment is about commitment to resistance. You can do better! The internet doesn’t have that big a draw.”

“But I don’t want to do better. I want instant access to the internet at all times.”

“Then you are a weak and feeble minded excuse for a human.”

“Whoa, back off subconscious. Don’t make me come in there.”

I checked the forum post really quick (and got some awesome recommendations, by the way), and then became adamant about not interacting with media. So… now what? I could read… right? Wait, no, the written word is a form of media; we talked about this in class. But, I have to read for my English class; Professor Nichols wouldn’t want me to avoid doing my homework!

My girlfriend was working on an art assignment all day, so I figured I would keep her company. However, I informed her of my predicament and she said she wouldn’t have any of it. She was going to watch her Netflix Instant queue while she worked and that was final. I spent the rest of my weekend trying to ignore the beautiful allure of the television, instead reading a dense translation of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. I like the book, as far as books for school go, but it’s definitely no Mad Men.

Ludovico Ariosto: Not as cool as Don Draper.

I can’t claim I did it successfully, because I may have sneaked a few more peeks at my iPhone and the TV, but I did cut out a large amount of those 11 hours. How else would I survive? This day and age isn’t suited for quite, contemplative time in nature. Ideally, I would have gotten lost in the woods all weekend in order to avoid media, but that’s unrealistic.

It’s getting cold outside.

48 Hours: Media in My Daily Life

First and foremost, it’s a pain to try and log every encounter I have with media, both intended and unintended, considering that media content is, quite literally, EVERYWHERE. As I’m sitting here writing this, after my two-day media logging extravaganza, I have some instrumental music playing, the TV on, and am procrastinating by checking random internet sites every few minutes. Not only that, but the weather is fairly dreary out today, so any stimulus helps to relieve some of my lazy rainy day syndrome.

I didn’t think I was going to be surprised by my media habits, but I really shocked myself with this assignment. As a film major, I enjoy watching videos in my free time, whether on TV, YouTube, or Vimeo. Therefore, most of my time was spent watching some video based media. Beyond that, of my 31 waking hours during the two school days I recorded my log, 16.5 were spent in the presence of media. That is just over half of waking hours. This slightly alarming fact made me reevaluate my entire life and consider joining the Franciscan order.

I mean, really. Think about that. HALF of my waking hours are spent in a nonproductive state, enjoying someone else’s messages. I spent two hours total listening to podcasts as I walked between classes. Another two and a half listening to music. And these were just the hours I was able to recognize and record! On Friday, after class, I went to Target and then Marshalls, both of which had ambient music playing over the loudspeakers. I didn’t even realize that they had been playing until a song came on that I recognized. Of the 16.5 hours I recorded, 5.5 were spent in the presence of ambient media that I wasn’t actively engaged in. This included music and videos my roommate was enjoying, as well as the music at the stores I visited.

Made in MS Excel

Another thing that I wasn’t able to record was the advertisements and flyers I encountered throughout the day. As I walked around campus during my school day, I ran into a bunch of flyers promoting Jonah Hill’s new movie, “The Sitter.” I’m not sure if someone posted these on their own accord or if a marketing company was hired to do it, but it represents another invasive form of media. I wish I could have logged the amount of time I had viewed advertisements because I’m sure it would have raised my 16.5 hours to an even more alarming number. Having completed this part of the assignment, I must say that I’m not looking forward to evading all forms of media. I had a hard enough time trying to find all the media in my daily life, I can’t even imagine trying to avoid it!