48hr Blackout

Disconnecting from all news for 48 hours proved to be more difficult than expected, but not for reasons I would have anticipated; it wasn’t the lack of news that I found discomforting, but rather the state of solitude that trying to avoid the news created. The most discomforting of all is the realization that we are constantly, and passively, trying to stave off solitude without even knowing it.

Before embarking on the experiment of disconnection, I started making a mental list of all of the things I could, and could not do. What was news and what wasn’t? The first realization I made took place before I truly even began the experiment: almost all the technology I consume daily could be considered, in some way, a source for news. Aside from the obvious no CNN, and no New York Times, there was also to be no morning podcasts (in case one of the hosts mentions something newsworthy) and certainly no refreshing of my Instagram feed (for fear that I would catch a post from one of the news outlets or magazines I follow). The list went on and on…. no Twitter, no Facebook, no radio, 70% of TV channels were ruled out as well. All in all, it seemed to me, that in order to avoid news, one has to disconnect from technology almost completely.

Once I finished preparing my mental list of dos and don’ts, I commenced the experiment. In the first hours of the experiment, I enjoyed not checking my phone apps, not turning on the TV or computer. In fact, I found it rather peaceful. Then, my phone rang and a friend asked to meet me at Starbucks for a coffee. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until I was already in the car racing to Starbucks – I was trying to avoid the solitude of sitting in my house disconnected. This reminded me of “The End of Solitude” where William Deresiewicz asserts that the Web Generation has “lost the ability to be still, our capacity for idleness. They have lost the ability to be along, their capacity for solitude.”

Inside Starbucks, I avoided glancing over at the rack with newspapers for sale (I couldn’t let myself see a headline), and then realized I would have to try to avoid accidentally overhearing the conversations of other patrons (what if they began discussing today’s news?). It was then that it occurred to me: if you are truly disconnecting from news for 48 hours, you not only have to disconnect from technology, but also disconnect from human interaction. Today, news is so readily accessible, and so easily shared, that literally nowhere seemed safe to “hide” from it.

I suppose that before the internet, there were some that were more informed and others that were less informed. If you wanted news you would have to intentionally seek it out by actively picking up a newspaper or putting on a news channel. Now, news comes at you so passively, you don’t even have to look for it, which makes everyone, and everything, a news source.

As I became entrenched with the goings on of the day, usual habits started to creep up. It was almost as if my thumb had a mind of its own as it opened apps before I could realize what was happening and quickly close them. And when I got in my car, I instinctively went to turn on a podcast, so that I wouldn’t have to sit with myself in silence. Again, reminding me of Deresiewicz’s claim that the world we live in – where it is possible to receive a hundred text messages in a day – creates the aptitude for loneliness. It suddenly seemed insane to me that the recorded voices of people in New York made me feel less lonely in my car here in Florida. “A constant stream of mediated contact, virtual, notional, or simulated, keeps us wired in to the electronic hive — though contact, or at least two-way contact, seems increasingly beside the point (Deresiewicz 2009).”

The experiment made me realize two things: Firstly, that news, in and of itself, is not intrinsically an invasion of our solitude. It is the multiple platforms and channels by which we receive news, even when we aren’t looking for it, that are an invasion of our solitude. Secondly, is that it we have become hardwired to prevent ourselves from feeling any sense of solitude; our subconscious having us mindlessly open apps that connect us to those platforms and channels, just so we don’t have to feel alone. VERY WELL DONE ANALYSIS, USE OF READINGS, REFLECTION.



THESIS: Secrecy and power are two separate, but related, forces that control our interactions and behaviors. To have access to a secret may empower you; to hold someone else’s secret may give you power over them. Ultimately, the power of the secret lies with whoever has less at stake.

At my internship last summer, I was accidentally copied on an email that contained confidential information. In the email, my boss was liaising with one of our clients – a cosmetics and beauty company – about a new fragrance they were launching. While all clients valued confidentiality, this client placed a huge emphasis on it; if information leaked, it could affect not only marketing efforts, but also overall sales. Before we began working with this client, my office was even briefed by the client’s legal team regarding privacy standards.

The email that accidentally wound up in my inbox was not just a regular email… it was an email that revealed which celebrity would be featured in the fragrance’s campaign launch, and how much they were being paid. The moment I opened the email, I knew it was mistakenly sent to me. Only three people in our office would be privy to that information, so I quickly closed the email and told myself to forget what I had just seen.

A few minutes later, my boss frantically approached my desk. She whispered that she could get fired for accidentally forwarding me a confidential email, and begged me to keep everything quiet: the fact that she sent me the email, that I knew what celebrity would be launching the product, and that I saw the celebrity’s contract.

Before the incident, my boss and I didn’t have a close working relationship, but after the incident, things changed. She began to invite me into meetings, introduced me to important and interesting people and would include me on company outings that interns typically wouldn’t attend. It became profoundly evident to me how much secrecy is tied to power. I was being given access to things and experiences that I would have never imaged receiving as an intern. But was I receiving these because my boss felt indebted to me? Or because she valued my loyalty? Or was she simply just trying to “buy” my secrecy?

I could sense that other interns were noticing the special treatment I was receiving, and it started making me uncomfortable because I knew the real reason I was being treated differently. When other interns would ask me how an event was, or something of that sort, I felt compelled to make up a lie that would “explain” why I was invited to the event and they weren’t. I suppose part of me didn’t want them to feel badly, and the other part was paranoid that perhaps they sensed that I was guarding this secret. If every lie needs a justification, those were mine. I was using the lies to guard the secret.

Ultimately, the fragrance launch went off without a hitch. However, the experience taught me how closely secrecy is tied to power, and how secrecy can function as a currency of sorts. Because my boss had the most at stake, my protecting her secret gave me a power over her. And that power parleyed into opportunities and benefits for me. THIS IS VERY VERY WELL DONE. GREAT STORYTELLING, WRITING, ANALYSIS.

Secrecy, Lies, and Confidentiality

As a child, secrets were what drew you closer to each other. You only told your absolute “bestfriend” your deepest secrets. As you got older, you learned secrets were the pathways to rumors and drama. As an adult, you realized that in the end, your business is probably best kept to yourself. There are times where decisions have to be made and the decisions that are made come with consequences whether they be good or bad. There have been moments where I felt overwhelmed by holding a secret for someone even if they were close to me; especially if it wasn’t a good secret to be holding. It becomes overwhelming because that person entrusted you to confidentiality. “We all know that secrecy protects lies, that lies protects secrecy and that lies and secrecy protect the prima facia duties under confidentiality agreements”. Confidentially, lies and secrecy are all connected as shown in this statement.

There was a specific time where I was confronted by a friend about something about myself, that was spread by one of my close friends. Not only had I felt a disappointment towards this person because I had expected them to keep my business between me and them, but I was also appalled and annoyed. I felt this way because the information that I had told her confidentially was misinterpreted to someone else. So not only had she broken the bond of secrecy we created buts he also twisted it into something that became a lie. This is another factor at how all of these subjects tie into each other. People have different perspectives on different things. What I might say to someone, they might take another way. A story that I might tell someone, they could tell it to someone else in a completely different manner. This could easily change in the way they speak, their tone, or their exaggeration. All of these minor details can affect the truth. This is why telling someone else’s business often leads to the spread of lies and can often cause problems.

At this point I didn’t only feel betrayed but I also felt empowered, because I knew that at any moment I was able to expose her for who she really was. I was put in the position to either expose her as a liar or keep it to myself and just fall back on our friendship. I had put the decision in to deep consideration and I decided not to do anything about the situation, I forgave her but I did not forget. I fell back on our friendship but I did not feel like it was worth causing chaos for her when because I was upset for a few days.

My understanding on secrecy, lies, and confidentiality was greatly expanded because of this situation and I learned that there are things in life that are just better not being said and can benefit you later on in life. Sharing information that is not yours to share can cause chaos and loss of integrity. It it just better to keep information to yourself and be trustworthy. GOOD REFLECTION IN THIS ASSIGNMENT AND ALSO GREAT REFERENCES TO READING. BUT WHAT WAS THE SECRET?! HA.



TAPSOBA – “I have a secret” – Secrecy assignment

As I opened the bathroom door, I saw my best friend on the floor, in tears, a pregnancy test laying recklessly next to her feet. Her body was shaking as if possessed by some type of demon. Reluctantly leaning towards the test, she looks at it one more time and says, “It’s positive”. My heart dropped. My best friend was pregnant at the age of 18 years old. It was as if my whole world was progressively collapsing and there was nothing I could do to stop it. After consoling her for about 30 minutes, she explained to me that she was going to get an abortion and she wanted that information to stay confidential. At that moment, I felt powerful and privileged to be the only detainer of this secret. Anna had let me in her privacy and I now more than ever felt as an intimate. As her best friend, I was always going to be there for her, and although I did not agree 100% with her decision, I would still support and protect her, regardless of what it’d take.
Regrettably, the day came when my loyalty was going to be put at risk. Indeed, her mom was starting to have doubts on the pregnancy and wanted to talk to me. We were casually spending the day at their house and as my best friend fell asleep, Mrs. Harbor discretely called me into her room; the concern and worry in her eyes were breaking my heart. After taking a deep breath, she bluntly asks, “Mariam, is my daughter pregnant?” My heart dropped again. I had already promised to keep the whole situation a secret and as a good friend, I had to hold on to my word. Compelled to lie, I answered: “No Mrs. Harbor, Anna is perfectly fine”. Her look was filled with despair as she wished she had heard otherwise, but I couldn’t do anything else. I felt horrible at that very moment because this secret was deeply hurting Anna’s mom, and I was responsible for it.
Keeping this secret caused not only for lies, but also collateral damage. Anna and I were both young at the time and did not know much about abortion or how it goes. Living in a country where abortion is illegal, we had to go through a whole bunch of steps to get to a doctor who would extract the embryo from her in an isolated office. This unsafe and unthoughtful method resulted in a very serious disease that Anna ended up contracting.  Lying therefore resulted in a bad judgment, shutting off all outside criticism.  If Anna had consulted her mom in the first place, she would’ve been able to gain better judgment and advice on what choice to make.
On the other hand, this proof of loyalty from me allowed Anna and I to become closer than ever. Although I had broken the trust Mrs. Harbor had in me, Anna realized that no matter what, I would protect her intimacy and would not allow any intrusion into her life. WHAT A POWERFUL ACCOUNT. GOOD WORK AND I AM SORRY YOUR FRIEND HAD TO GO THROUGH THAT.


During this Blackout I found that being so attracted to the news and social media, I was losing so much time to connect with family and friends. I interacted with my family so much more than I usually would because I was usually lost in my phone or computer finding out information about people that generally did not affect my life in any way. It made me realize that the urge of wanting to know about celebrities’ lives isn’t really worth giving up time to connect more with my family. Also, I realized that I became more anxious to know what was going on in the news than normally and I was only in a blackout for 48 hours. I wondered what my thoughts would be or how I would feel if I was in a blackout for a week or a month. As a society we have become more and more dependent on social media and the news that we lose ourselves if we do not have access to the media all the time. GOOD For example, if a teenager’s phone was to die on them, most of the time they would be a complete rush to get the phone recharged because of the fear that they may miss something important. Moreover, after experiencing this so called blackout, I came to the means that Deresiewicz was trying to emphasize. The overall point of his piece was depicting the idea that humans are heavily dependent to their cell phones or anything that keeps them in contact with society. In his piece, he stated the following “A teenager I know had sent 3,000 text messages one recent month. That’s 100 a day, or about one every 10 waking minutes, morning, noon, and night, weekdays and weekends, class time, lunch time, homework time, and tooth brushing time”. This statement did indeed correlate with me. Myself, being a part of a fraternity, I’m involved in a group chat that is constantly active. This statistic clarifies how active one is on their cellphone throughout all hours of in the day. Another valid point that Deresiewicz critically highlights is how due to technology our ability is being comfortable with our solitude has been diminished. He says that technology has made such an impact in our lives that we forget who we are at times and self-identity issues being to arise. Society has such an impact on who we judge and label ourselves. During the blackout, I was beginning to feel lost which was relieving but also a wave of anxiety would hit me at times. The yearning to text my friends and watch the highlights of every game was like an itch that I could not scratch. All in all, I came to realize that technology has impacted my life in many ways. The blackout made me appreciate so much. Being disconnected was an overwhelming feeling but also like a breath of fresh air. Technology is addicting, when you don’t have, cravings develop and create a stir of emotions.



TAPSOBa – End of solitude assignment

In one of his most famous work, contemporary writer and critic William Deresiewicz describes the emotion state and values of the contemporary self in regards to solitude. In effect, he explains how due to the internet, technology and mass media of the century, we, as individuals, are constantly running away from solitude; we want to be seen, known and recognized by thousands of people, as if we were mini celebrities. We are so connected and addicted to our technological world that we live in relation to others and omit the importance of real world connections as well as the culture of being alone.
After throwing myself in a Twilight zone for 48hours, I definitely understood furthermore Deresiewicz’s point. In effect, during those 48hours, I had no access to any source of media, including news, weather and social media; my only technology was my phone, whenever my mom called me. Notwithstanding, those 48hours felt like a lifetime. It was as if I was completely cut out of this world. Not being able to check my Instagram profile or update my twitter status was slowly but surely eating me from the inside. In addition, the fact that I was not able to post my life on Snapchat, or to meticulously examine the day of the strangers I follow was sinking me into a state of pure loneliness, borderline depression. Anxiety slowly started to invade my being, leaving me confused and disoriented. Laying on my bed 90% of the time, I was desperately looking for some type of occupation to fill in the gap. Not only did I find myself trying to escape that sensation of solitude, but I was also looking for a solution to that feeling of grief qualified as boredom. I tried to replace my phone with other activities such as homework, cleaning and cooking; I even incorporated a few TV shows and 1-2 visits at the gym, but there was just this whole in me telling me that something was missing. I was stunned as to how much impact the media and the internet in my everyday life. These tools allowed me to feel complete and surrounded in an empty room, to keep up connections with friends who live thousands of miles away, and most importantly to know what’s happening in the world. Although they might seem small, these 48hours of blackout felt like a week, made me realize how such a big portion of my life evolves around the culture of being seen, known and recognized by people whom I don’t even hold a real relationship with. It also made me open my eyes on the fact that we are so caught up on everyday life, trying to escape solitude that we don’t even realize how important it its. Despite the fact that it can be daunting, solitude is an important characteristic in an individual’s life. Indeed, the feeling of loneliness I experienced these last 48 hours gave me the chance nonetheless to bring myself closer to The Almighty, and also to perform introspection on who I really am and who I aspire to be. GOOD JOB ON THIS WELL WRITTEN AND STRONG ANALYSIS. YOU FORGOT TO TAG GROUP SO I COULDN’T FIND THIS PREVIOUSLY.


Thesis: Dealing with secrecy is something that affects everyones lives at some point or another. Although keeping my brothers secret for most of my adolescent years put a strain on my relationship with my mother, it ultimately helped me become a more compassionate and understanding adult. GOOD

Secrecy is the act of keeping things hidden. It stems from deliberately keeping something from others out of fear, embarrassment, or other reasons. Some may keep a secret because they believe it to potentially have a negative impact on someone specific or because it may cause harm to the secret-keeper and those around them. Sometimes, there’s even an element of shame behind confidentiality. Regardless, the act of secrecy is something that can become prevalent in anyone’s life, at one point or another. It can be detrimental and put a strain on your relationship with someone. For me, it became an issue I dealt with almost my entire life.

From an early age, my older brother and I have constantly cultivated a very close relationship. Because our parents brought us up in an old fashioned manner, we were always able help one another keep secrets from them and find comfort in our mutual trust. However, nothing could have prepared me for the intimate detail my brother would one day reveal to me. Because he is only two years older, we faced the same issues simultaneously. We both went through our transition from children to young adults around the same time, but he dealt with it a lot differently. I became social, started going out on the weekends, and got better grades. He was the polar opposite. Our mother attributed this to the difference in our genders, but it was only a matter of time before my brother revealed the real reason to me. He confessed to me that he was gay and that he was having a hard time dealing with the matter.

From that moment on, I saw him in a different light, not because of his sexuality, but because of the courage he had to reveal this intimate part of himself to me. On the other hand, my mother confided in me as well. She vented, telling me that she blamed her parenting for my brothers distant behavior, and that she wished he would let her in again. I would be lying if I said this didn’t make me feel guilty for keeping such vital detail of his life from her. This put a silent strain on our relationship, one that was almost unfathomable. However, I was always painfully aware that this was my brother’s secret to share, not mine.

Ultimately, this experience empowered not only my brother and I, but my parents as well. He went through stages of denial, depression, and culpability, which were all necessary on his journey to acceptance. Although my parents were shocked and hurt when he confessed to them, they were able to realize that his sexuality was merely a part of him, that it didn’t change him as a person. As for me, I wouldn’t be the same person today if I hadn’t dealt with my brothers experience through a second hand perspective. It helped me become understanding, open-minded, and more considerate of the people around me. WELL WRITTEN AND A POWERFUL STORY.