24 hours? “I can go without technology for 24 hours, no problem”, this is what I told myself prior to my technology blackout, in which I did not use any type of electronic device for an entire day. I soon realized after a few hours into this adventure of the great impact that these media devices play in my every day life. I began this trial at midnight as I put my phone away for bed. My experience at the gym the next day demonstrated to me the importance of these devices. Beginning with my drive there, I was not able to listen to music, map the fastest route, or scroll through my phone at red lights. Overall, this was probably the most attentive drive I have ever had; my only focus, for the first time, was the road and the drivers around me. I realized how distracted I typically am when driving. Once at the gym, I was forced to alter my typical workout regime, as some of the machines had screens and media attached. As I was not able to listen to music, I found that it affected the extent and quality of my workout. I had no entertainment other than to watch the people around me, and found myself with a feeling of jealousy as I glanced over at the people on their cell phones. Once I arrived back to my dorm, I began to ponder how the rest of my day would pan out. I finished my class readings and other written homework at a faster rate than I ever would have been able to if I had had my cell phone, TV, or laptop to distract me. Rather than text my friends to see what they were doing, I walked to where they lived in hopes that they would be there. After my first friend not being where I hoped she was, I thankfully ran into another soon after. The difficulty I had with locating and making plans with people made me think about how difficult doing these things were in the past, before phones existed. One of my biggest challenges during this period was that night. I went to a party with quite a few people there and found myself easily losing my friends and the people I was supposed to be with. Unable to contact the, I realized that I had to make an effort to stay near the people I knew. I realized how much more dangerous it is when I am not able to contact or find the people I know at large events. Over all, this 24 hour period without any type of media brought to light the value of these devices in nearly everything I do in a day. I was able to end this “blackout” with a much cleaner room, finished homework, and a wide variety of text messages and missed calls to come back to.
Waking up after the end of my 24 hour technology blackout felt like Christmas morning. I woke up with excitement to see what all I had missed in the passed day. I grabbed my phone and spent roughly the next hour scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and responding to all of my missed text messages. I was amazed to see how much information regarding social media and news that I had missed in what I had thought was a short period of time. I watched an episode or two of Netflix on my television and realized how much I missed having the sound of the television playing throughout my morning. I took note of the sounds I had heard the day of my technology blackout as I got ready in the morning, which included honking, people talking, and often sounds of sirens; I did not hear them anymore. On another note, my day with technology had thus far been much less productive. On my way to the gym, I enjoyed listening to my music more than usual. I didn’t realize until prior to the blackout how much music changed my overall mood. I was able to stay at the gym much longer than the day before, however my workout was much less efficient as I often paused to check my phone. I used my cell phone to call my friends to meet for lunch, which differed from the day before when I had to track them down around campus in order to make plans. During lunch, I found myself checking my phone for sports news, text messages, and scrolling through social media sites. I undoubtedly had less actual human conversation while with people on the second day than I did on my blackout day. My overall takeaway from this experience is that the blackout wasn’t too bad. I was able to experience the people and the world around me in a different way, without distractions and with more clarity. Yes, of course I missed having the ability to easily contact my friends and to see what was going on in the world; however, it was all still there waiting for me after my blackout was over.