While there are undoubtedly many positives that come from our use of technology, I have noticed through the iExamen that it can easily become a burden when not used correctly. Too often, we become absorbed in our phones and unable to enjoy, or even notice, what is happening around us. The activity really helped me to realize that if we were to train ourselves to limit our usage of technology, we could begin to reverse the bad habit that most of us have picked up. If we are able to distance ourselves for even a short period of time each day, I know the effects would be just as positive as I have found.
On Friday, October 28th, I spent the day working on my iExamen. I found this experience to be particularly interesting, as this time I practiced my iExamen on a weekday as opposed to last time in which I practiced the iExamen on the weekend. There were certainly differences in how people communicated with one another.
As I noticed last time I practiced the iExamen, I checked my phone as soon as I woke up. Even as early as 9 am, my friends had already blown up my phone talking about plans for the weekend. As excited as I was for the things we had planned for the weekend, I still had two classes and a meeting to attend later in the day. Since it was a Friday, I am sure some of what I experienced was slightly exaggerated, however, after reflecting, I realized that I notice people doing this on Monday’s as well. During the walk to class, I noticed a lot of people walking while staring at their phones and realized they probably planning their weekends with their friends too on the way to class. When I sat down in class, I tried to listen to a few conversations among different people who had not been looking at their phones. The subject of a strong majority of the conversations was regarding plans for the weekend, and usually followed by more typing on their phones during the lecture. I observed the same type of interaction throughout the day.
I chose 5 pm as the hour in which I would be technology-free knowing I had an intramural football game that requires the players wear shorts without pockets. During the hour I had without my cell phone at the intramural football game, I made more new connections with people than I had going out on the weekends this entire semester. After our game, I was able to go to Boulder with some of the people I had just met and noticed that some of them had purposely left their phones behind because of their pockets not having shorts. During that period of time, I had very genuine and meaningful conversations with those new friends that would not be possible with the distraction of a phone. With the influence of social media, I think we too often become consumed in the constant pressure of, “what will I do next?” Instead, we should try to find time to live in the moment and observe what is around us. I know that I may not have made the connections I made with my cell phone with me. Perhaps I would have been so busy focusing on what was next with the friends I already know to notice an opportunity to grow in front of me. It made me wonder, what have I missed out on before?