#11: Unplugging

Part I.

So today, I unplugged from my phone and the Internet for twelve hours. It started off great – but quickly went downhill.

I liked the experience for the most part. But it very clearly showed me how dependent I am on the Internet and my phone.

It started off well enough. I let my phone serve as a clock, calendar, and music player but turned all other services off. I was able to get to my first meeting with almost no hassle.

I had to cheat though because I needed to look up an important address to send my transcripts to so I had to use my internet for that. I thought about how lucky I was I didn’t have classes or it would be a lot harder to go without Internet.

My trust was tested as well since I had to trust that my ride would be there when I said to be since I couldn’t text them once I was done.

I noticed that I was more bored and would get my phone out to pass the time idly. But I would put it back up. I didn’t realize how often I did this before.

In the end, I decided to take a nap until the twelve hours were over. However, once I left to my next meeting I walked out and locked the door…leaving my keys inside my now-locked apartment.

I quickly realized my mistake and knew that it was over. I couldn’t last the day. I ended up calling my mom to bring my spare car key and texting my roommates trying to work out a solution since they were both at work. All right before a meeting.

I didn’t give up so I put my phone back on airplane mode until 9 PM since that would complete the 12 hours. Clearly, I had failed to go the entire time without my phone/Internet.

I felt good about the experience though. I was able to relax more and enjoy being in the moment. It sounds corny but it truly felt that way. I felt less stress for sure and I could tell this is true because once I turned on my service again and my missed notifications started popping up, I began to feel tension and stress. Having an empty notifications bar was oddly relieving.

I wasn’t too surprised about my use of technology. I knew that it was an integral part of my day seeing that my schedule and email are on there and not being able to access Internet really sucked. A lot of my homework is done using the Internet so I had to rely on reading and writing what I could.

I felt that interpersonal communication vastly improved when I was disconnected from my phone. I am a serial “phubber,” especially around my partner. He’s complained that I am bad at multitasking but the video in class showed me I just concentrate too much on my phone that my ability to talk out loud at the same time suffers. Now that I was forced to be unplugged, I realized how being “phubbed” felt. Most of the times where I would idly reach for my phone was because other people were on theirs and I felt left out or bored.

It felt slightly liberating to have my partner’s full attention and give my full attention back. He knew I couldn’t use my phone so we were able to really spend quality time together.

I would definitely do this again just for the peace of mind.

Part II.

I’ve learned a lot throughout this course especially in regards to the early histories of communication technology. I wouldn’t have known what commtechs were before this course.

The theories we learned in class were things I had known but couldn’t put a name to (displacement theory) or things that I wasn’t surprised to learn were true. (The 80/20 rule)

I didn’t know how complex the regulations were surrounding Internet. I didn’t know about net neutrality or spectrum space or how companies collected information. Those were all surprising things for me to learn, especially in regards to Axciom, but all the more reason to stay updated on legislation and FCC regulations.

Communication technology has tremendous impact on society and our lives. It’s not an immediate effect and they don’t all happen at the same rate but ultimately those that pass the “chasm” have lasting impact even if they die off later on. Without VHS or wired telephone we wouldn’t have a lot of the new gadgets we enjoy today.

This class has caused me to think more critically about the technology that I use daily as well as think about how and why things got to where they are. The future of technology is hard to predict but with the content I learned from this class, I can at least make a reasonable prognosis. And really, as consumers, that’s all that we can do in the ever-evolving world of communication technology.







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