I don’t think most of us realize how saturated with media and information our lives have become, until we try to avoid them. It’s not something we tend to actively think about or reflect on, but rather something we take for granted. The media has become so pervasive in our lives—and information so accessible—that we rarely pause to question it, when really we should be asking: are we getting too much? How much of the information that we consume every day are we actually processing, internalizing, and putting to good use? How much of it is simply overwhelming our brains? New media technologies have changed the way we communicate, learn, and stay informed. And they can be very useful and beneficial, as long as we remain in control of how we use this changing media/tech landscape to our advantage (instead of becoming passive and consuming users).
Speaking for myself, I can say that I have certainly come to feel overwhelmed and trapped by my use and consumption of media technologies. The challenge for me is using media effectively and productively when I AM using it, instead of allowing myself to get constantly and hopelessly distracted. I have no problem periodically detaching from my technology to give myself a break; I can disconnect and leave my phone at home without getting FOMO (fear of missing out). But when I am trying to use my laptop for schoolwork, I get distracted with the Internet every few minutes. When I am on public transit, my phone becomes a crutch against boredom—I check it constantly if I have it on me.
This week I will challenge and attempt to change my relationship with my technology and consumption of media. I will do this through a series of podcasts called “Infomagical,” presented by Note To Self; a WNYC podcast. Each day I will listen to one assigned podcast (there are five in total) that will set a challenge for the day (five challenges in total). The tasks are designed to help me observe and control my use of technology and consumption of information throughout the day. I will reflect on my experience of each challenge at the end of each day. Maybe by the end of the week I will have something to take away from the experience and apply to my future use of and relationship with the media and information technologies that are such a big part of my life. Come along for the ride! The first challenge begins tomorrow: Magical Day.