I woke up to a clamor of girls running around on a small, rocking boat. Once again, I habitually reached for my phone. It was dead, so I plugged it in. The difference between this day and the prior was immediately obvious. I spent the majority of my next 3 hours scrolling through the pictures taken of my friends and me and responding to messages, snapchats, and perusing through Facebook. Exhausted from yesterday, our car ride was mellow. We chatted while simultaneously using our phones. When we stopped at Mara’s house, the four of us cuddled together on her bed and spent the next hour on our phones, editing photos and debating which ones were cute enough to post. If it weren’t for my blackout the day before, I might not have noticed the absurdity of our behavior. Yet, we still managed to have a deep conversation with our phones in hand.
Back on campus, my first task was to plug in all of my devices, including my speaker, phone, and laptop. When my phone had enough power I plugged in my headphones and headed to the gym. Despite my obvious fatigue from lack of sleep, I powered through a tough workout this time with my music to entertain me. After my workout I collected my fully charged laptop and headed to Ground Zero, a coffee shop on campus. My headphones continued to block out any potential silence. I found two of my friends studying and joined them. All three of our mac computers formed a triangle, and we rarely looked up from our screens unless someone had a funny story or post to share. We sometimes procrastinated our work, falling into conversation, but we might as well have been in different rooms, separated by our tall screens.
On my computer, I started writing this blog, and searching through blackboard to organize my homework assignments. On Facebook I posted in my sorority page about an upcoming event I was hosting. As diversity chair, I decided to start a new monthly event in my sorority that enabled girls to give speeches and share their life experiences, stories, and projects. It just happened that I would be giving the first speech about my work with child slavery in India and my experience living there for four years. This project, however, required a lot of technology usage to communicate. I had a diversity committee group chat that was texting all evening to coordinate logistics. My eyes remained glued to my screens as I built a PowerPoint and edited my speech. The majority of my communication this day was virtual. However, my access to technology enabled me to organize and create my event. I managed to spread the word to a mass group of people in a way that would have been quite difficult without media and technology.