Have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried to function as normal without interacting with any form of media? I tried it. It was impossible.
I participated in a 24-hour media fast last week as part of an experiment for my Principles of Media class. Here were the rules:
For 24 hours… do not engage with the media. No newspapers, books, television, radio, movies, magazines, computers. You can complete course assignments using essential media tools. Otherwise, fast!
I broke the media fast in relation to schoolwork and my on-campus jobs. I wouldn’t be able to do my jobs or complete my class assignments without email or the Internet. That showed me how dependent on media the first-world realms of education and work are.
I’m fine without social media. Sure, I scroll through Facebook and Instagram, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything important by abstaining from social media all day.
However, I realized that I don’t normally go a day at college without using messaging apps to keep in touch with my friends and family. I was out of the loop with the people about whom I care the most. I missed out on the pictures and little messages that my family sends throughout the day. I wasn’t able to find out where my friends were unless I saw them. As part of a circle of friends with an active group chat, that was strange. I was glad that that lasted only for a day.
The media fast showed me that I use media mostly when I’m by myself. I put on music to fill the air while I’m working. I keep in touch with friends when we’re apart. I answer emails and read articles when no one else is around. I wonder how I’d be if I were to fast for more than 24 hours.
How do you think you’d do with a media fast?