I’ll be there for you… when the media black is over

Remember the TV series Friends? Monica and Chandler, Joey and Phoebe and Ross and Rachel all getting into situations and then gathering at Central Perk to talk. We’ll here’s The Nerdist’s take on how Friends would look like if it were set in today’s time.

I wonder if they would use Instagram or Snap Chat to take pictures of the ugly naked guy who lived in the apartment across the street?

Okay, Friends Rebooted is a bit of an extreme example. But, now that you’ve completed your Media Diary Discussion you have a better idea of how media permeates your life.

Now it’s time to take the next step.  Cut yourself off from media for 24 hours.  Yup.  Let me repeat that.  Cut yourself off from media for 24 hours.  No texting, no television, no music, no Snap Chat, no TikTok challenges, no Netflix, no newspaper or magazines, no social media for 24 hours.  It sounds extreme, but students say it’s one of the most eye-opening assignments they’ve had in their college career.

Actually, this will be more of a media brown out.  We can’t take you out of the game for your other classes and your job so…

  • You may use media required for other classes, such as textbooks and Canvas
  • You may use media required for your job, but limit it to just what is required for your job (no listening to music/texting/etc. on your break)
  • You may use your telephone (voice only)
  • You may check your email

WARNING: Make sure to let your friends and family know you are going to be incommunicado for 24 hours.

When a colleague’s class first did this assignment, some parents/family members panicked because their children didn’t post on Facebook, send a text, etc. This generated a fear that their child or loved-one was dead on the side of the road.  Let the people you know and love know why you might not be as accessible as you normally are.

People have had media blackouts forced on them and managed to live through it.  Jodi Katzman, a blogger for the Huffington Post, had a media blackout imposed on her when her cell phone, her television and her computer died all at the same time.  This cold turkey cut from media had her freaked out a bit.  Here’s how she felt in the beginning.

It was unsettling at first. I felt lost. Was it possible I was moving in slow-mo? I wondered what was going on in the world and what I was missing. I felt as if I’d traveled back to the Stone Age. Everywhere I looked I faced a shiny black screen reflecting nothing but my own image. I waited for those alerts, chirps, beeps and buzzes, and that seductive white-blue glow to signal a message… but they didn’t arrive. (Links to an external site.)

Katzman’s media blackout went on for seven days.  Once she got past the media withdrawal she discovered how much time she had.

I took in the solitude while waiting for a pal for lunch. I enjoyed debating trivia with friends, without robotically searching for facts from the palm of my hand. Inconvenient, yes, but also authentic and freeing. I made the most of this unplanned time by filling it with social activities.

Go to Blog: Media Blackout for assignment details.

I’m going to take the challenge as well. The question is, when? I can’t really do it on a teaching day, but do I want to spend 24 hours of my weekend depriving myself of media?

Good luck everyone! And REMEMBER to tell friends and family when you are about to go into your media lock down.