48-hour news blackout – Iman Ismail

After a long 48 hours of isolation from global news and social awareness, an interesting experience and a greater understanding of the impact the news has on us was achieved. To begin with, the first step to enforcing this 48-hour news black out was deleting all news apps and limiting access to social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. Of these platforms, the hardest one to completely disconnect from was Facebook. By the second day of this experiment, as the information detox took its toll, it was clear that the only way to prevent feeling withdrawn from society altogether, was to force my self to become socially involved in person, rather than behind a screen. [Good insights. How do they relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

During the first 24 hours of this assignment, no loneliness was experienced, however, boredom became a feeling greatly sensed. Instead of laying in bed, scrolling down my social media feed, I unknowingly became increasingly interested in becoming more socially active, as a substitution to being informed or staying connected to the world. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] On the first day of news-isolation, I found myself wanting to sit in the Graham Center at FIU for a longer amount of time than usual. It was apparent that this was a reaction caused by the fact that the less presence I had on social platforms or news sources, the more social presence I wanted in the real world as a reminder that people were still there. The overall mood felt while engaging in conversation with fellow peers was relaxing. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] However, after an hour of aimless conversation, the desire to begin political discussion was tempting. Essentially it dawned on me that although it’s one thing to discuss politics and global events, discussing what was going on among peers –basically gossiping- was in a sense similar to being exposed to news. Naturally our urge to remain informed on what world leaders and influential people are doing in the world is not much different than discussing what our peers were doing. As I was ultimately forced to end conversation with my friends in attempt to pursue this isolation, I began to experience loneliness. [excellent insight]

On day two, I decided to go to the beach: a place I hadn’t visited in months, yet a place many would agreeably describe as an anti-anxiety safe place. Sitting there peacefully admiring the beauty of the sea, it dawned on me that I really wanted to pick up my phone, and once again, resume being part of societies “connectedness.” As a I was able to sit there lost within my own thoughts, I was able to see the correlation between solidarity, vulnerably, and finally, loneliness. [Do you think you had some of the same feelings as Major Motoko Kusanagi in “Ghost in the Shell” when she went into isolation underwater?] Vulnerability was a result of feeling powerless or useless, caused by being unaware of what was going on throughout the world. Being part of the global connectedness reminds you that there are people around you, even if you cannot see them. Therefore, it was only natural that despite having people physically around me, the withdrawal of information that was subconsciously comforting, caused me to feel lonely. [How might you act on these insights? How might your media consumption change?]

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