My Affair With Media

Consuming the media, in all of its forms, has become an alternative to living life through experiences. I sometimes feel like I am cheating on a wife or girlfriend whenever I choose to use my phone or laptop to relax instead of doing something more tangible with the real world, like going for a walk or reaching out to a friend to catch up. Just like a real life affair, there is a certain satisfaction I think we gain from the instant gratification of our social media worlds of hilarious memes, inside jokes, and various other culturally significant events that it becomes the primary source of catching up with life. Also, just like an affair, the consumption can be harmful to the lifestyle that might be best for us.

Media and I have been on a “on-and-off” relationship throughout the past few years. I had a Facebook in high school and some parts of college, but we decided it was best we see other people and we went our separate ways. We never really think about each other anymore. Twitter, however, is my biggest temptation when it comes to straying from my healthy relationship with life. There have been extended periods of time where I visited every day, multiple times a day, enjoying every tweet and retweet and favorite. Some sort of pleasure reward message gets shot up into my brain and the dopamine levels rise whenever I felt the warmth of another human cheating on his or her relationship with the real world to interact with my own polygamy. It is so easy, so available, and every original idea feels so worthy of a tweet.

The “on” phases of my affair with the media world have definitely been characterized with joy in some regards, but the “off” phases are probably some of the most interesting and lascivious moments I’ve had with life. Being disconnected from the Attention Deficit of the social media and truly focusing on life and the things I found fascinating, free from wanting to share my life with others, is where I found true joy. While it would make me a hypocrite to say everyone should disconnect, I do recommend everyone try it out for 6 months and live their lives. Liberty and freedom are hard to experience while shackled to a phone.

Social-Media-arrest

 

Being a media producer is definitely something people do, but I think it often takes over their life. There has even been a True Life documentary episode on MTV; True Life: I Am Famous Online. The people of these shows dive into the world of “fame” by being liked by ¬†countless strangers online. Sure, some people might wish they were well regarded for their media production, I think that it is a shallow recognition. A real artist painting a canvas, a real musician filling a venue with sound, a real author publishing a book that requires someone to sit in one spot, etc. is a more intimate and rewarding experience in my opinion.

Who knows, maybe the change in how we consume and produce media is bound to change and to try and fight it would be futile. Maybe this is the way things are going to be and to not adapt is to be left behind. Whatever it may be, it is hard to ignore the power that new forms of media have assumed.

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2 comments on “My Affair With Media

  1. I love those moments that I am away from my phone and not connected to social media. A couple of my friends and I go into the pine barriens in southern New Jersey to do some off roading in our trucks, and boy do I love the time I have with them. Face to face conversations and wilderness as far as your eyes can see. Theres a fire tower there which is maybe 200 feet high. There is a spiral ladder that you can go all the way up and see all the wildlife around you. Yeah, I go up there and take pictures with my phone, but that is really all I can do, I cannot take the picture and post it straight onto Instagram. It is a different feeling taking a whole bunch of pictures instead of just one picture and posting it. New personal memories are created.

  2. I would recommend skipping ahead to reading Sherry Turkle’s “Identity Crisis,” from her book, “Alone, Together.” Turkle’s work focuses on the development of isolation that is, ultimately, mediated by our willingness to integrate technology into our lives, to the point of not knowing how to engage with other people on a one to one basis. The article can be found on the class Diigo site.

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