A face in the crowd

Last year, I’d go to bed thinking “Hey, 6 hours on the phone! Not bad at all”. I know that sounds absolutely horrific, but that was my life navigating my very-online presence in a pandemic. Soon, there was a MacOS update that started tracking my screen time, just like my phone. Oh God. I spent every waking moment on a screen. With 6 hours on my phone and 11 on my laptop, the math was not looking pretty.

I suddenly started obsessing over the numbers. I used to cry myself to sleep if it was over 4 hours on my phone. It ruined my day to know that I was a “zombie”. I abandoned my online presence. I deactivated my Twitter account with a thousand followers – abandoned the friends I found on there, deleted two of my three Instagram accounts, I deleted TikTok – privating all my videos. It doesn’t sound like much right now but it was the biggest change I could imagine at the time. I even created new accounts to “start over” where I limit myself, but it never worked.

I see a lot of posts here talking about using media “liberally” and that there are two sides to it. Realising that and creating a boundary was the hardest thing for me while constantly forced to participate in media, at the time. For god’s sake, I was going to school on my laptop! It was neither good having an 18 hour screen time, nor ruining myself with the issue of “zombieness”. I still, to this day, navigate my presence. So I can’t confidently write about ‘why I love my media’ but I can tell you that it keeps me connected to myself.

YouTube and Instagram are the greatest forms of social media for me; they keep me connected to sub-cultures that I am, or aim to be, a part of. From Miuccia Prada to a first year film student at UCLA, i can keep my inspirations for creative ideas pouring in. I can keep up with people that inspire me with their passions, or get a giggle out of me. It’s currently not possible to hit bullseye with my “balance”, it may never be possible – but it turns into game of staying rather moving. Media, in my opinion, is not a maze you get lost in and try to attain nirvana when you find your way. It’s just a place that you sit and enjoy, doing what you want and love. 

Sure, there are vile things on media, ranging from raging fetish freaks to unhinged violating opinions about your favourite movie. You just have to learn to press that little button on the side of you device, realising that it is truly not that serious. As Tyler, The Creator once said “[…] How The Fuck Is Cyber Bullying Real Hahahaha Just Walk Away From The Screen Like Close Your Eyes Haha”


A face in the crowd – 13701908


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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