Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Experiment

We made it through the day without any breakdowns of any kind, not that we were expecting any. There was definitely a noticeable difference between life with and without media. I feel that a majority of the difference came with the unfamiliarity of living surrounded with media and not connecting to it. For example, JD and I were cleaning the room, but there was no music or television on. The background noise is something strange to go without. The buzzing sound of the lightbulb seemed even louder than usual in the quiet dorm room. I think the conversations were pretty average, but the lulls in the conversation were a lot more apparent.

I would say that the lack of technology introduced many inconveniences. Trying to find another person in the grocery store is made a lot simpler with the use of cell phones. It made me remember about the times when people used to get paged to the front of the store where their parents would be waiting for them. Now it is easy to just call a person. This is a good example of using technology, but there is nothing which might suggest whether connections have become better or worse because of this. I suppose that the use of phones would allow me to call home and ask if there is any milk left. Without phones, I would have to make sure what I need before going shopping. I guess there would suggest greater attention to the things around us, but to me it just seems bothersome. The primary use of technology is to make more life convenient. I would say that technology does allow people to get more done faster and more efficiently.

The activities I participated in over the course of the day were fairly similar to what I normally do. However, I think I felt a little less rushed while doing them, thinking that I had to burn time in the day. Without technology, I felt at a loss in trying to accomplish many of the “important” things I would have to do like answering emails. The fact that we only went through the experiment for one day was pretty interesting because I simply put off many of the “important” things for today when I could use my computer again. If I simply had no access to a computer for an extended period of time, I would have meet people in person to get answers to questions or use a phone if they were far away. Trying to do things that normally would require a computer seemed pointless to attempt as a computer would allow me to accomplish my tasks much faster. I can type 60 words a minute, but how many words can I write in a minute? Again, this brings up a problem of inconveniences.

As for the personal connections that I made, I believe things were rather similar. One thing that was special is that we cooked dinner for a friend who is graduating soon. One might say that it was because we had more time that we could do this for our friend and make a stronger connection with him. However, I think that this occasion just happened to fall on the day that we were going through with this experiment. The dinner party would have occurred whether or not technology was available. In fact, I think my friends used technology to help coordinate the gathering. About the personal connections, they seemed the same, no stronger or weaker than usual. In fact, I believe that making connections is simply a matter of whether a person wishes to go out and make a connection. Today, we did not have any limitations on our use of technology, but we took the time to speak with a shopkeeper for a few minutes. If we were to go by Pappano’s definition of connection, then we were able to make one despite having technology in our lives.

In some ways, technology may make us feel like our lives are busier than they have to be. We find that news is filled with unimportant facts, yet we feel the need to always know what is going on. However, there are major benefits to technology, and these positives definitely outweigh the negatives. I think that the main point is that technology does drive us to a life as a hermit, shunning all human contact. In fact, technology makes it easier to stay connected to those who we already have connections with.

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