Crimson White Staffer Documents ‘Social Media Blackout’ at Alabama

“On Sunday, September 25th, at 11:59 p.m., I signed off of Facebook.  I would not sign on to any kind of social media again until the following Tuesday.  This is my story.”

So begins a video report capturing snippets of Matt Mecoli’s journey away from online interaction.  The roughly weeklong “social media blackout” carried out by the University of Alabama student earlier this semester was an attempt to determine his own– and society’s– level of social media addiction.

“I found giving it up to be an extremely uncomfortable and difficult experience,” Mecoli confirms in a related write-up for The Crimson White.  “The level to which social media permeated my life and how frequently I was using it didn’t become apparent until I gave it up.”

He recounts that he had to stop himself from signing onto services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype an average of 16 times each day.  As time passed, he began to recognize just how much he used social media to keep in touch with friends and family and keep abreast of current events.

“I found it shocking when my friends began talking about the Wall Street riots in New York City,” he writes.  “I had no idea what they were talking about, and I came to the realization that I’d come to depend on social media: for my news, for my networking, for many of the little tasks that contribute to managing my life.”

The video summary of the self-imposed blackout is quite humorous.  It includes scenes of Mecoli reflecting on his social (media) alienation while standing alone by a lake; giving reality-show-style confessionals of his progress/F’book longing; and holding a poster on UA’s campus in the vein of a panhandler that reads “Will Work for [Facebook] Likes.”

My favorite moment from the video: a bearded student approaching the poster and poking the thumbs-up sign Mecoli had drawn on it, providing him with a real-life ‘like’ for his efforts.  He did it so casually and confidently, without a second thought, as if it was the most normal action in the world.

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By blackout’s end, Mecoli describes feeling a “strange sense of serenity” at being reintroduced to the world wide web.  “I noticed couples sitting under trees and friends playing Frisbee on the Quad and people biking their heart out to get to a class 10 minutes away in two minutes,” he recalls.  “I never would have noticed these things. And each thing I saw sparked memories and thoughts and questions.”

The big question: Can you go a week without social media of any sort???

Comments
2 Responses to “Crimson White Staffer Documents ‘Social Media Blackout’ at Alabama”
  1. Great thoughts! I really enjoy your work.

  2. emmenuele says:

    Great video I loved all of it especially the way it shows facebook positively
    and i loved the little dig at “like” on facebook I know! they should do
    video categories so this way all of the people can vote for Love it
    like it dont like it etc. now they only give you one choice for
    “your vote Like”.
    I hope other intelligent people saw the little bit of humor there loved it