RIP Mass Media

Mass Media :1 , Erinn :0 . I was defeated, and not just barely, I got my butt kicked.

My Mass Communications teacher gave us a new interesting assignment, go 2 days trying to go without forms of mass media. I tried my best, but media infiltrated my day in multiple ways.

Let’s start with the definition of mass media. “Mass media are the cultural industries, the channels of communication, that produce and distribute songs, novels, newspapers, movies, Internet services, and other cultural products to large numbers of people,” which is cleared up thanks to my text book, Media & Culture: an Introduction to Mass Communications by Richard Campbell, Christopher Martin, and Bettina Fabos (just in case any of you have a huge urge to buy a communications textbook)

I thought this assignment was fairly exciting for something I was being forced to do, so I tried going all out for the two days. In a way, going without media seemed like a way to “stick it to the man” and make my hippie mother proud. I was going to go without ANY contact with mass media, even though my teacher said we could keep our phones.

The first five minutes of my plan went well, but it was downhill from that. My brother apparently tried calling me while I was in the shower on the first day. I didn’t pick up and he noticed that my roommate was online so he instant messaged her telling her that he needed to talk to me. Heather, my roommate, decided that she needed to bang on the door to let me know.

By the time I got out of the shower I already knew that I was going to have to break my stand to talk to my brother. I called him back to see what he wanted, just to hear about how he was driving to school and noticed that they put up a new billboard advertising the new “Big Mac Wrap.”

Part of me thinks that it was just karma that I was trying to go without media so of course I would be told about some advertisement right away. I know my brother was just telling me because we are always disgusted by the commercials when we see them, being the avid Big Mac fans that we are. How could they ruin something as perfect as a Big Mac? Come on McDonalds!

After telling my brother about my homework assignment, he said he would take care of telling the rest of my family that contact with me for the next two days would be limited to only necessities.

Once done talking to my brother I sat down at my desk, and sat, and kept on sitting. Why was I sitting at my desk? The only thing there was my computer, and if I went on it I would have nothing to do but to go on facebook, or play some games, which would inevitably have ads on the sides.

So what was I to do? I had no idea, but I lucked out and it was just about noon so I was hungry for lunch.

I walked down the hall to my friend’s room to see if any of them were hungry, and I was in luck. They had their television on so I waited for them to get ready back in the comfort of my media-free room.

We decided to splurge after being snowed in the dorms; we wanted some food other than campus’ finest. We piled in my car and drove to some pizza place my friend recommended.

The car ride was fairly silent. We had the normal girl gossip, but almost every car ride I take, the first thing I do is turn on the radio. I even got asked to do so, but then I explained my anti-media stance and they understood.

Any time spent outside my room, the accidental run-ins with media just kept piling up. While driving I saw 3 billboards, signs for housing and restaurant specials. Once inside, what I thought to be safety of the pizza place, I realized that it was almost worse inside. The signs on the table showed different community activities going on, and the music playing was hard to ignore when it was as catchy as Imma Be, by the Black Eyed Peas. (Give it a listen…)

I could go on forever telling you how I quickly realized there was no way of getting away from the media invasion, but instead let me tell you what I learned: Media makes the world go round.

If it wasn’t for the signs advertising food, and activities, what would I have done with my day? What I did was sit and think about how bored I was. I read some as a cheat to the challenge but if I hadn’t I would literally have had nothing to do.

So now, I challenge you to this. Go two days without media. If you succeed, I’m accusing you of being a liar – a really boring person.

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~ by erinnhesse on February 17, 2010.

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