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Part 2: Mission, Impossible

September 19, 2010

Okay. This half of the assignment is ridiculous. Like, I had no idea how hard it would be until I actually did it. Teenagers are addicted to media. Scratch that. Everyone is addicted. My parents and grandparents might not know how to work any electronics more advanced than a VCR, but they like their media. Books are media, radio is media, anything short of sitting in a corner staring at a wall is media. I know this now. From experience.

As I’ve said before, TV is my constant background noise, more for comfort than to actually watch. Keeping it off, especially at night, was just plain spooky. Every noise is amplified, and taking a shower is out of the question, as a knife-wielding cross-dresser might cram himself into my tiny dorm bathroom and stab me to death. Music, radio, any other noises that might cushion the depressing and slightly horrifying silence: in the words of New York Italians, fuhguddaboutit.

I was doomed from the start, truthfully. Between the fact that almost all my decorations are ads and the fact that this college is Billboard City, there was no way I could avoid it. WTMD plays all the time in Paws and Newell, and other local stations, usually weepy country ones, play in the Glen. And unless I plan to fail my Psych and Public Speaking classes, I have to get on the computer for research–and ads assault me on the homepage.

I talked myself into believing that texting is not mass media. It was an act of desperation.

Me: Texting, well, it’s the same as talking to someone in person, right? Except you can’t see their face. Or hear their voice. And that it uses a major form of mass communication He. Hehe.

Returning to the idea of addiction, there are studies that show texting is an honest-to-god disorder. I have friends that will refuse to speak on the phone with me if their favorite show is on. And me, as my two-day study showed, I have Facebook up just about all the time. It’s insane! 

Finally, I think I should mention that I was not that great at this project. I felt jittery and disconnected, and broke down pretty quickly. But I really did try. And it honestly made me think about society as a whole. This isn’t a Maryland trait, or an American one. Any first-world country in the world is obsessed with mass media. We in the United States may think we have the monopoly on rapid technology, but that isn’t the case at all. And use of this technology proves it–we can connect to friends in Japan or business associates in Saudi Arabia in a heartbeat. So why turn down the opportunity? And soon, it’s all-consuming.

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