Keeping a diary of my phone interactivity over a forty-eight hour period was far more enlightening and informative of both technology and myself than I had anticipated. Being forced to use a notebook and pen was difficult and I truly never got used to it. This may have been because I was using advanced technology, an I-phone, simultaneously. It was almost as if I was going back and forth twenty years in terms of communication every time I used my phone. To store information on a cellphone, there are so many options. We can simply take a picture, screen shot, or text ourselves to make a note. In this exercise, we were dictated to use the “technology” of a notebook and pen, which made me feel quite limited.
Here is the quantitative information I recorded:
Used device: 147 times for a total of 3 hours and 46 minutes
Textual: 61 times Social: 11 Times Both: 75 Times
Textual ( Redfin 10, Alarm 4, Email 7, Checking time 40)
Social ( Phone 11)
Both ( Twitter 14, Facebook 10, Texting 29, Snapchat 22)
These interactions interrupted several daily activities: ( activity, number of times)
Homework, 31 Conversation, 25 Walking, 15 Sleep, 11
Class, 14 Working out, 10 General productivity, 23
When we first received this assignment, I was skeptical why Bill gave us all a notebook and a pen. It kind of felt like the first day of school way back when. I understood the notebook, because they are all the same size and easily fit in a pocket. I found it interesting that he gave us a specific “ Pilot G-2” pen. A pen, I might ad, which is the best I have ever used. This too added more limitations on to me, and I felt little freedom or flexibility in the process.
I actually found myself not wanting to use my phone out of spite of having to write everything down. It was such a tedious process having to write down the number, date, and length of an activity along with the ki
nd of interaction it was and what it interrupted. Logging the activity in my notebook usually took longer than the actually activity itself on my cellphone. Besides the mechanical frustration, I became internally frustrated with how much I was actually using my cellphone. I always considered myself a heavy phone user, but not an addict or someone who is always on their phone. When I found myself logging cell phone activities every few minutes I started to question myself. This too caused me to refrain at times from using these technologies.
I have learned much about myself as a user of communication technologies by dairying my phone interactivity. The spaces which I used on a regular basis encourage and exemplify a participatory culture. I frequented Facebook ten times, Twitter fourteen times, and Snapchat twenty two times over the forty-eight hour period. An interesting aspect of Snapchat with my generation I think is that we use it as a method of back and forth communication as well as photo sharing.
All three spaces require a decent amount of digital literacy. Of course that is subjective. The platforms also are full of participation by most users while others simply observe. I am both of these kinds of users at times but for the most part I would say that I am participant. There are some other spaces I used that don’t necessary exemplify participatory culture. For example, Redfin, a real estate app that I visited ten tim
es over two days, simply provides a service. I do not participate within the space.
As far as the relationship between myself and my phone, I am fairly dependent on it for things as miniscule as checking the time, and as important as connecting with friends or finding out information. Being on the phone for almost four hours throughout the exercise is more time than I am comfortable with. Roughly two hours of my day are spent looking at a tiny screen in my hand. That doesn’t even count the time I spend on the computer. If I do not have my phone on me, I notice right away, and do not progress in my day until I find it. I find that is a pretty powerful statement in itself. I believe it has become this way in my life because cellphones make life today easier and I do not want to risk being subject to inconveniences or the preoccupation with missing someone’s text or call.
Self promotion is known to be associated with social media. That is to say that people rarely post pictures or express feelings of themselves that would negatively portray them. I cannot point to anytime that I use a space as a way to self-promotion. Perhaps some Instagram posts portray my friends and I having a good time, but I am not striving to make people think of me in a certain way.
In very short, this process has undoubtedly caused me to reflect on my own phone usage and attempt to limit it. For now, I think I am on the same track for roughly two hours on my phone daily. I do not see this number growing in the near future.