Do you miss social and/or traditional media sources?

I personally didn’t miss social media at all. I’m usually on Facebook a lot to keep in contact with friends and family from back home, and to keep the Irish culture instilled in me. Other than that, I won’t scan through my whole news feed unless I’m terribly bored. Also, the fact that I don’t have an iPhone made this assignment a lot easier. IPhones are so compact and easy to conceal if necessary. They are small enough to store in your pocket and accessible at any time. If I had one, I guess I would know what the addiction feels like but I have an iPad instead, and it’s not quite the same. With an iPad, it certainly isn’t compact and is quite awkwardly obvious at times when it doesn’t need to be. If I need to use social media, I’d rather do it on my own time, and I rarely have time . So, by not having the habit of using my iPad in class, or in the line at Walmart, or in the car, I wasn’t very affected by the “unplugging”. I didn’t experience the fidgeting or the phantom ringing described in Moeller’s blog, thankfully.

Did you think your life was more or less distraction free?

When it came to doing my homework, distractions creeped in. I do agree with Moeller when she states the she is “not at her creative best when I have so much information and distractions.” I was doing a 4-page paper for my world civilizations class and at many points throughout the day, I just wanted to do anything but think. This time I fought the urge, but on any other day, I would give in quite easily. During homework time, it’s not as though I just go onto my social media sites and scan through aimlessly for hours. I, instead, set up a system to reward myself with about a three minute scan for every productive act (I won’t reveal how many times I was rewarded.) I’ve obviously embedded a system because things kind of got out of hand. I’m sure by unplugging every so often could make me a better student.

Did your view of society change any?

It’s not that I’ve never noticed how dependent my roommates were on social media, but being without media really opened my eyes. Before I was “unplugged”, we would sit with each other in the house, and as soon as conversation would stop for a second, all three of them would have their eyes glued to their phones. I noticed that they preferred to keep themselves occupied with something at all times, which allowed the natural transition from one form of communication to the other. Again, with not having an iPhone, it never tempted me to have to convert my attention to media. I can see how students in Moeller’s study felt “withdrawal” and “addiction” and “dependency” during their 24-hour fast. I know I wasn’t feeling that bad during my fast. I usually leave my iPad upstairs if I’m hanging out with the girls. I feel like nothing would be important enough on Facebook to make me to want to walk up those stairs and get my iPad. It also helps the fact that I just hate walking up flights of stairs. I could run all day on the soccer field, but I just can’t handle the stairs.

Did you have to think ahead to make social plans?

I chose to participate in my fast on a weekend in Murray. This meant that even if I did miss a text from my friends, I really wouldn’t have missed out on anything exciting. I made plans with my boyfriend the night before and told him to stop by the house at around 2:30pm if he wanted to hang out. And so he did. That was easy! We stayed around town mostly but stopped by the house a few times to ask everyone what their plans were for the day. As usual nothing exciting was happening. But, I think it would be a different story if Murray actually had something worth going to. In Moeller’s study, some of her students were challenged without their phones. “I couldn’t find out what was happening

Friday night,” “I had to make plans in advance,” “I couldn’t make plans in advance so I stayed home.” I wouldn’t be very happy if I had to stay at home because of the lack of contact I had with my friends.

Did you feel more relaxed?

There was a sense of freedom during my 24 hours. I felt as though a huge weight was taken off my shoulders even though I don’t usually rely on social media that much. Knowing that I had an excuse for not answering emails, texting, or looking on Facebook, made me feel so carefree. Moeller explained how she had a “Zen-like place” in herself while she runs. She could hear her breathing clearly without the use of a soundtrack playing in her head. I feel like the fast made me pay more attention to the quiet time in the car on a trip to the store, or the busyness of a restaurant while sitting waiting for food. It was actually quite enjoyable seeing everything in a different perspective.