Wednesday, January 12, 2011
7:00 a.m.: I begin my day as usual, planning to check Facebook and e-mail. However, my laptop installed security updates overnight and then restarted itself, disrupting my tenuous wireless connection—it can take an entire day to reconnect. Devoid of hope for social stimulation, I proceed to step two of my morning ritual and watch a repeat of last night’s BBC World News on television, while munching on Mini Shredded Wheat doused in almond milk.
8:15 a.m.: My laptop has miraculously reconnected to the internet. I log on to the social network and spend a few minutes reading status updates. After checking my university e-mail (STU mail) and the weather forecast, I head to class, listening to CBC Radio 1 on my drive to campus.
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Class finished, I go to the library to check out a stack of books on genocide and spend some time reading through the Encyclopedia of Genocide by Dinah Shelton, as well as snippets from a number of books on the subject.
12:15 p.m.: Back in my apartment, I listen to the growl of my hungry stomach as I check my STU mail once again, my personal e-mail account, and Facebook. Then, I heat up some pizza in the microwave and plop myself in front of the television to catch a few minutes of The View.
Lunch finished, I decide to start this log before I forget the details of my media usage in the first half of the day. So as Whoopie Goldberg talks, I type. But thinking in a noisy environment is not my forte, so after five minutes I turn off the television and move on to paragraph two, in complete silence.
Once my media log is up to date, I send an e-mail to one of my professors. Next, I proceed with some research assigned for another course, spending about an hour on the internet, watching and reading reports on the December 2010 floods in New Brunswick. In the midst of my research on the floods I notice that the tab I left open for Facebook indicates there’s one update, so I check that.
6:00 p.m.: After a late afternoon class and supper, I put in some time in front of a computer on campus, checking my STU mail, personal e-mail, and Facebook.
9:30 p.m.: Following my night class, I answer a few e-mails and make some posts to Facebook, while watching 30 minutes of television—America’s Funniest Home Videos and the last five minutes of a speech being given live by President Obama for the “Tragedy in Tucson” memorial service. As a stadium full of people applaud Obama’s message, I turn off the television and head to bed to read a chapter in the paper book My Father, Maker of the Trees, a memoir of Rwanda genocide survivor Eric Irivuzumugabe.
In total, time spent using media included approximately one hour watching television, 12 minutes listening to the radio, 40 minutes reading paper books, and one hour reading old news online. At least ninety minutes were frittered away checking e-mail accounts and Facebook. I spent thirty minutes taking in current news, but I read no newspapers—neither print, nor online. I listened to no music. I sent, and received, no text messages. All but 42 minutes of my day (when not in classes) was spent in silence, except for three minutes on the telephone with my husband and passing greetings to a few students. If I can’t find a career in my field of choice, I think I may have a future as a monk…as long as monks are allowed to use Facebook.