Media Journal iii: Life Without Media

            Introspection. That is what my day without media could be summed up to. I slept in later than I normally so I could kill time, but after that, it was just me, myself, and I. The first thing I did was drive around for almost two and half hours in North East Arkansas. I didn’t really have a plan going into this assignment and that was the first thing I thought of. I viewed the landscape and nature of the towns outside of Jonesboro and further all the while just thinking about where I was at in my life. I then went to the park and took a nap in my Eno under the trees by the water. I ate dinner with my family with no media and then went back to the dorm and slept. It was not an eventful day.

            I would say it was somewhat difficult because I didn’t really have anything else to do. After the fact, I thought of some things that would have been good to do but I didn’t plan my day well. This is because I did this on a Saturday which is the highest day for my media consumption. So, the most difficult part was the boredom. I just felt bored all day because I didn’t have any distractions or entertainment that I am used to. However, this brought about some good inner thinking time. I was able to, especially while I was driving, to question my choices and what I was doing and what I want to be doing.

            I missed my entertainment the most. As I said, Saturdays are my highest media use days, so I was not able to use any of these things I normally do for fun on my most free day. I missed watching YouTube, listening to my music, and especially watching movies. I have a long list of movies I plan to watch and this really stifled that and Saturdays are usually when I watch a lot of them. When I was driving, I really missed my music because that is when I listen to it the most. I think this why I was so bored because these forms of media keep me happy and distracted from my boring life. This really made me face that and see how boring my life is.

            The effect of this deprivation on me was that I was, again, bored, but it also made me cherish my media use and almost kind of hold back on it. It kind of taught me to savor it when I had it. Like the kind of mindset that I wouldn’t have it after this time I consumed it. However, it had little to no effect on my social contacts because I only really talk to my mom and no else talked to me on that day besides some people I saw at dinner in person.

            Overall I felt that the assignment is an important one to do. The aspect of being free from the world for a certain amount of time really makes you think and can be helpful for some people. I would suggest the time be shortened a little. Make it a day but not exactly 24 hours. It seemed kind of pointless after 8:00 P.M. But I guess if you have something you could do maybe not. That’s just my opinion. Honestly, the outcome was kind of predictable for me. After doing the previous media journal I knew my media habits and could tell that I would probably be bored all day. I wouldn’t say it was life changing for me, but it was a nice experiment and was fun at times.

            So, after completing these three media journals I’ve learned I use media almost constantly, but I don’t feel addicted to it. I’ve noticed that a lot my consumption is not just throw away entertainment but things that I am using to better myself and my thinking. There are fun things that I watch that don’t have much of an impact on me, but most of it has a purpose behind it. On a scale of 1 to 10 for my control of my media, I would have to rate myself at a 3. I feel that I control my media to a good degree, but I don’t have any alternatives to it. It’s like I know how much I’m using and it may be too much for some people, but I am able to handle it. In the future, I will cherish and savor my media use more and will always make sure it is not controlling me and my life. Regarding recommending this to others, I’m not sure. If they would actually do it, I think some people could really benefit from this. However, I think there are some people who already have a good idea about this stuff and don’t exactly need to do this. So, it depends on the person, but overall I would recommend it. It is an interesting experience and can be helpful. I know I found it interesting. So, am I being used? I don’t think so. I think growing up the way I did, I have learned to control myself and use media for my best interests so I can get busy living.

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Chapter 9

Television

I usually watch television whenever I am done with my assignments that need to be done that day and when I have caught up on the Youtube videos that were posted each day. So, it is usually from somewhere around the afternoon until I go to bed when I watch TV. Right now I am watching specific shows through services like HBO GO, Netflix, and STARZ because I don’t really watch anything currently airing on cable and broadcast channels. This is mainly because I am living on campus so I don’t have access to the channels I would watch at home, but even if I was at home it would just be the movie channels and on-demand shows.

This is sort of a bold statement from someone like me, but I do think that someone can watch too much TV. However, I don’t think this because it “rots your brain.” I say this because a lot of shows aren’t meant to be “binge watched,” especially dramatic shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, etc. These types of shows have a lot to offer to the viewer and have many twists and turns that are meant sit with the audience. By just going straight from a cliff hanger to what happens next takes away the impact of that moment. I’m just as guilty of doing this as everyone else but now I try to be more careful about it. But in terms of the first reason that you can watch too much TV, I don’t agree fully with that. Like with any other thing people consume, it depends on what that person is consuming and balance, in my opinion.

Last night I watched Band of Brothers on HBO. It is a WWII show in the style of Saving Private Ryan based on a book written about these real people. It follows Easy Company of the US Army 101st division in Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. It is very well done and realistic just like Private Ryan and if you have seen and liked that movie I would highly recommend this show.

Chapter 10

Video Games

I would have considered video games a form of mass communication before I read this chapter. This is because of how big the industry is and how you are able to talk and communicate with almost anyone around the world through them. My line of thinking is that if music and movies are considered a form of mass communication why shouldn’t video games. I may be biased because I have played video games all throughout my life as they were my first love in regards to a media platform.

What makes them on this level of mass comm., in my opinion, could be part of the same arguments for other forms of entertainment on this same subject. Honestly, one could argue that they are more like a form of mass comm. then other forms of entertainment because you are able to communicate and interact with people while you playing them. For example, when I would play my Xbox 360 I had friends from Canada and Chicago that I would regularly talk to and play with. This type of communication for music and movies only happen when you go to a concert or the theater and usually happen less frequently. This doesn’t even mention the size and growth the video game industry has had over the years with multiple conventions and sales that rival ticket and record sales. They are a relatively new player in mass communication but they are definitely a form of it and seem to only be growing.

MJii: My Media Use

The first thing I noticed about my media use is that I am on my computer a lot. This is where I would say 90% of my media use comes from. Which after further thought is how it has been for me ever since I got my first desktop. I basically use it as my entertainment center. I go to YouTube for my daily videos, I listen to most of my music through it, I go to Netflix and HBO GO to watch shows or movies, and it is where I see basically all the other media I consume besides when I read my books. However, I don’t feel controlled by it. It’s just a means to an end and how I have adapted to this environment.

I noticed that there isn’t really a peak media day for me. It seems that I consume the same amounts just through different sources every day. Like if I have a class that will count for my media but if I don’t I would just be on my computer which would count for my media use. Although I did have some changes in my media use when I only had my phone. Because of the tediousness of recording it, I found myself avoiding using it in situations where I would have just used it to use it.

I think this is mainly because of my residence. Because I live on campus in Kays Hall I don’t have access to satellite television like I do at home which knocks off most of the channels I watch. Also, because only a few channels have HD and I mainly watch AMC or HBO so watching a movie in non-HD is not something I want to do. But when I’m on campus I can get almost all my entertainment from my computer so I don’t have a reason to watch cable TV. I think it is also because it is more personal and private or at least feels that way. I can just put my headphones on and my roommate doesn’t have to see or hear what I’m watching. It’s mainly just an access reason for me because I’m accessing the same things, I’m just using different means for it.

As for what this says about my family, I’m not sure. My parents have adapted to the new media world easily. They have their computers and use Netflix and streaming but most of the time they watch what is on TV at the time. Which is probably a habit from their media use over the years. So, the main difference is that I use YouTube as my TV. Which means I probably carried over their media habits to my “new media” platform. However, they both use about the same amount as me, but I will admit I use more.

Honestly, I don’t think that being a student has affected my use that much. It has just made it to where I would be focused on other things on my computer other than entertainment because most of my schoolwork is done through my computer. The only time I don’t is when I need to read my textbook which I get done quickly. I think that is the main thing behind my media use. I get my work done quickly. Nothing really takes me multiple days to do depending on the assignment. I sort of reward myself with my entertainment after I finish an assignment and I usually refrain from my entertainment until I am done with my assignments. But as a student, I use my computer for almost everything.

This also shows my hobbies are media related. My hobbies consist of movies, music, and books so I don’t usually “get away” as some would say. However, I strongly feel that it does not control me. I can stop using it anytime I want and whenever I want or have something else to do. It is easy for me to stop using it when I have a reason to (this probably sounds like an addict). So, a lot of my media use stems from not wanting to be bored because I am an introvert and feel more comfortable on my own. I don’t hang out and go to parties all the time to find my enjoyment. I find my enjoyment through the media I consume and that just happens to be when I am alone. I just feel like myself and can think about the world around me when I am in these situations of personal media use because I don’t see it as wasting time. Especially when I’m watching my shows or movies on Netflix and HBO GO. I’m taking mental notes for what I want to do as a Writer/Director seeing what works and what doesn’t. Even the things I watch on YouTube have, for me, an educational aspect to them. So, am I being controlled? I don’t think so. I think if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be able to go a day without it, which I’m 99% sure I can. But we’ll see about that.

Chapter 8

Movies

I go to the movies because they are my true passion in life. Film is one of the art forms I connect most with and wish to be a part of. Going to the theater to see a film by filmmakers that truly understand their craft and present these amazing stories to the world always draw me into the theaters. I also go to the theater to watch movies because most of the time that is the format that the creators made it for. The best Directors, Writers, Cinematographers and Producers know that the way the first people who will view their movie will see it in a theater and more than likely make it for viewing in a theater. That’s not saying movies have to be viewed in a theater. All I’m saying is that you get the full experience when you view a movie in a theater with a large screen. It’s like watching Lawrence of Arabia on your cell phone. You definitely aren’t doing that movie justice watching it on a small screen like that.

So, I guess you could say I’m a little biased but I do think that the experience is worth the cost depending on the movie. I say this because some movies aren’t made with the big screen in mind and forget about that aspect of it so it wouldn’t really warrant going to the theater to see it except for the communal experience of it. However, I will always say it is worth it because I want theaters to survive. I don’t see anything wrong with streaming services because of the number of movies you are able to see no matter your taste. I just want more people to go see movies in theaters that aren’t just blockbusters because a lot of movies that released warrant a trip to the theater that isn’t Marvel or DC. Just go watch movies. Anyways, if you ever hear of a film directed by Christopher Nolan go see it in theaters, period.

Chapter 7

Independent Artists

I listen to a mix of independent artists and big recording stars. Although the big recording stars may not be popular with everyone they have had international acclaim. This includes artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, The Doors, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and much more with a similar style. With this said, I do listen to quite a few indie artists. This includes Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Volcano Choir and Local Natives. I found all of these artists through a Google Play Music “radio station” that had these artists in it and enjoyed them so much I added them to my library and have been on the lookout for more artists similar to them ever since.

I think what interests me with independent artists is how raw their music sounds. This also draws me to more famous bands and artists. I just don’t like to listen to music that doesn’t have a creative edge to it. It’s hard to explain. I just don’t like music that sounds absolutely perfect or is packaged perfectly without an original or different sound. There’s just something about that sound that I like and with indie artists, they are almost all like that. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say I like them better.

I do think the long-tail distribution makes it harder to find their work because unless you are actually looking for them or something related you more than likely won’t find them. However, once you do find them it easier to keep up with them and you feel more connected to them because of this distribution that almost gives it to you right away.

Chapter 5

Magazines

The magazines I read the most often are The Atlantic and The Hollywood Reporter. I like both of these because I feel like they provide an in-depth analysis of the topics I care about. The Atlantic provides me with news in the U.S. and around the world while also providing essays on these topics that are, in my opinion, well thought out. The Hollywood Reporter provides me with the information I want about the movie industry and the people involved. With this said I don’t read these with a subscription or anything. They are just the magazines that I go to online.

With this being said the characteristics noted by Rhodes they share would be; building a relationship between the magazine and its readers, providing information readers can’t easily find other places, adapting to social changes, and adjusting to economic changes and limitations.

Honestly, I haven’t read these magazines that long so I don’t have a full grasp on how they changed. However, a magazine I used to read monthly, Gameinformer, has changed quite a bit since I was reading it. They have now adopted a more digital approach to their content almost like The Atlantic. I think this is because of who they were trying to appeal to. This magazine provided news and stories about video games before most of this audience was online all the time. Since most of this audience can get this information online now, I think they are trying to appeal to that by giving the same content but just making it readily available with an internet connection. Sadly, I don’t think this made it better because one of their main characteristics was the artwork in and on the magazines. They would always have a big story about a certain game and the front and back cover of the magazine would be filled with concept art from the game. By it being online, it takes away from seeing that and feeling like you’re reading a well thought out and respectable magazine rather than an online article. Also, there wouldn’t be any ads on the covers and hardly any inside the magazine.