How do I experience digital media in my daily life? When confronted with this question, it immediately started an on-going thinking-process in my brain. As if mechanical wheels were moving faster and faster until they reached their limit and stopped. The initial reaction, when proposed with a large question like this is to go into overdrive and overthink. Wanting to describe too much. Which, in the ideal scenario, would result in including everything. In reality, it translates to too much information and thus results in: ERROR

Therefore, to start this first blog, I will analyze a small part of the question: How do we experience? What is like to experience something? To finally achieve an answer that shows us the impact of the digital media in our day to day lives. Or, as I argue, how digital media cannot be considered an experience anymore but has grown invisible in the spotlight of today’s society. How we do not experience digital media anymore, but we merely experience its absence. 

Digital media: today’s invisibility

Nowadays, digital media seems very common for most generations in today’s society. It has evolved in such a rapid tempo that stopping it seems impossible, thus pausing and consciously considering the impacts of digital media is very difficult. It cannot be ripped apart from the current society. It has become integrated and invisible in clear sight. 

Therefore, I argue, that digital media, in a way, has become invisible in our day to day lives. By waking up from our set alarm clocks on the Apple X plus to falling asleep to some video on Youtube about the cameo’s we all missed in the second ‘It’ movie. Companies with new high-tech gadgets encourage consumers to always want more, to always want faster and better technologies. But in such a way that we are encouraged to let digital media run every single part of our lives, but in a way, we are not aware of it. It is merged with everything we do. Digital media are not an experience anymore, they form a lifestyle we unintentionally all inhabit. 

Digital media have become inseparable in the daily cycle of work, school, study, entertainment, politics, economics, humanities, advertisement and so on. Even just sitting in the train confronts you with digital media. On the screens there is mostly travel information, which is there to make our lives easier, to provide the traveller with info. But it is something we do not consciously notice anymore, it is just there, in our environment. Forced to be normal and to be part of our environment, not a phone or a laptop you can just turn off. It blends together with our daily life experience, thus normalizing their presence. 

The experience of absence

The only moment we still, truly and intensely, experience digital media is in its absence (Delfanti, Arvidsson 2018, 3). Not the moments we do have our telephones in our pockets to reach for in times of boredom. But the moments we experience the tiny heart-attack when this phone is not in our pockets. It is not the digital media we remember experiencing in our day to day lives, it is the absence of it we remember and truly experience. 

Think of it this way, in day-to-day life digital media have become so common to use. To make life easier, faster, and better. To enhance our day to day experience. They are designed to be invisible, designed to be used and to enhance what we already have. To not only hear but to be surrounded by sound. To not only see but to see it move. To not only feel but to experience. But in this way, digital media works paradoxically. It is there to visibly enhance our lives, but as a result, has become so normal and indoctrinated, we do not notice it anymore. We do not experience the presence of digital media anymore, it has become normal and part of our (domestic) culture and lives. 

Take another train example: imagine walking from your train platform to the bus platform. A normal, day-to-day experience. You walk around, see lots of people running to get their trains. You pass some strangers at the kiosk and you sit down to wait for the bus while looking at an advertisement for Gillette. Normal walk, right? Except what you missed to see was that the people running had just bumped into one another because one of them was checking their phones. You missed seeing that next to you are three people sitting, one on her laptop and two on their Iphone’s. You missed seeing you were looking at a digital advertisement screen.

How do I experience?

It is not the digital media we experience anymore. It is not something that catches our eye immediately. Well, it does, but it does not form an experience anymore we consciously notice. In a way, it was designed to be visible but turned out to be invisible, because we see it everywhere. It blends together. It has become normal. Therefore, when confronted with the question How do I experience digital media in my daily life?, I say: I do not. 

Bibliography

Arvidsson, Adam; Delfanti, Alessandro. 2018. Introduction to Digital Media, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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3 Comments

  • Moos
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 3:01 pm 0Likes

    Great piece Liona! I love how you pointed out that we only notice digital media when we miss it, since it’s so ingrained in our lives. I never thought of it that way! I do agree with this though. The only times when you’re conscious about using digital media is when you can’t. We never think about using Google or Facebook or Instagram until we run out of data or the wifi isn’t working. That is when panic suddenly strikes, and we become aware of how much we depend on digital media. I like how you pointed this out, because I like thinking about things I usually don’t really think about. Great work!

  • Sanem Cerit
    Posted September 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm 0Likes

    Good piece, Liona! I want to start of by saying that this was one of the first entries that I read and I absolutely enjoyed reading it. I think you have a good balance of criticism and personalization which helps the reader relate to what you are saying but at the same time take your criticism seriously and nod along throughout the read. I liked the metaphors that you used while explaining how digital media blended into our lives and cultures. Also, it was interesting to read from another perspective that suggests we only experience digital media when it is missing, which is really accurate. Even though we got used to it and it successfully blended into our lives, it is still interesting to me that something we were supposed to experience is now hindering us from experiencing what is going on around us.

  • Nathan
    Posted September 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm 0Likes

    Great read! It seems the digital has become so ingrained into our culture that we have come to take it for granted. It has become intrinsic to how we experience our day to day lives.

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