I’ve learned that media is changing the world for the better, but when I’m sitting across from a friend and they can’t seem to look up from the screen in front of their face, it’s time to consider what this new technology is actually doing to our society.

This is a subject that I’ve been studying for the past two years of college. In journalism, media is vital because it gives reporters a chance to spread their work to a wide audience. I personally love posting my articles on Twitter and Facebook because it is a way to share them with all of my friends and family. Without this advantage, journalism would be at a stand-still.

    During one of my classes freshman year, my professor gave everyone an assignment: try to go as long as you can without using your cellphone. Most students in the class laughed and pulled out their phone upon leaving the room. As for me, I actually tried to do the assignment, but it ended up causing issues for me. My roommate happened to be frantically looking for me, and since I turned my phone off, I had no idea what was going on.

Having a phone is definitely vital, at least in the 21st century. Without my phone, I’m unable to contact my family two hours away from school, none of my friends can get in touch with me, and I can’t receive the urgent emails for my two on-campus jobs. I don’t know what’s up to date on social media, or even what’s newsworthy unless I pick up a local paper. Though, this doesn’t mean we should stop appreciating the world around us.

Art is everywhere. Books and poetry are still being published, and vinyl sales are on the rise. There are still creative minds and ideas spreading, yet I always see people heavily connected to their media devices. On public transportation, no one talks to each other anymore, and even my own friends can’t hold a conversation for more than five minutes without picking up their cell phones.

One particular thing that bothers me is when people experience life through the other side of their device. For example, at concerts, fans always seem to be taking videos of the entire show, but what did they actually experience? A concert through a camera lens? The point of a concert is to live in the moment of the music, but all I see at shows is a crowd of hands clutching phones through the air.

Another aspect of media that I can’t stand is the constant need to check social media. I know people who will constantly check their Facebook or Instagram, feeding off of the amount of likes they receive on a picture. Sure, it’s great to feel popular and share your life online, but there needs to be a limit.
I think this need of technology has something to do with the fear of missing out on what’s happening online. People look at their phones constantly to see what their friends are doing, and text people 24/7. In reality, it’s not anything online that they’re missing out on, it’s the world around them that is simply passing by as they stare down at the screen.

I’m not forgetting to blame myself, because I know that I’ve been connected to my phone at various times–times when maybe I shouldn’t have been–but now, I see that a change needs to be implemented. Social media is great and new technology helps us thrive as a generation, but it’s important to remember that there are more things in the world besides technology.

Don’t forget about the hardcover books, the bundles of newspapers, the tangible music CDs, or the live musical performances. Don’t forget to call people every now and then, write a letter rather than a text, or paint instead of graphic design. Remember to write and read, interact and share ideas, and most of all: look up.