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Ch 5: Digital Wellbeing & Detox

Digital Wellbeing

To start off with, I wanted to share a brief audio story I made at the direction of Professor Alan. We were challenged to write an audio story of our position in relation to class. I’m starting with this first as I feel it will leave a fitting impression to my thoughts this week:

[vocaroo id="15YdTSTvvUIi"]
https://voca.ro/15YdTSTvvUIi

Second, I had listened to Dana Boyd’s podcast The Internet of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It was an interesting segment of my time as I recalled several instances of growing up with the internet in a somewhat similar vein as she had. The idea of seeing the potential that online services could provide in its infancy was astonishing, but the ‘magic’ that came from it seem to have vanished. It’s the norm now and it is inescapable. Everything seems to have been dominated by social media accounts and the usage of online to spread misinformation and create dissonance between people. I might be highly exaggerating and I take responsibility for what I’m claiming, but I do see the overwhelming effects it has on people, students and normal people alike. It feels to me that the digital persona seems more important than the normal one.

Digital Detox provided insight on how the internet can be used for online classwork and education. While I can commend the steps people have made in providing education, I can’t really say that it is 100% equipped to do so. I know people who have struggled in this new world and there is an imbalance of fairness and equality. It seems that the people who ‘seem’ fine can continue normally and those who are struggling with this new world are either falling behind or must ‘fake’ their wellbeing to be seen on the same level. I don’t believe I can provide much insight on this because education is not my field, but I worry for my friends who are dancers, printmakers, painters and sculptors who must work on everything through camera lenses. I can tell you it is not easy.

Last week’s class opened my eyes to a perspective that I never thought would receive an open-floor discussion. The wellbeing of those behind the computer screens. It pales in comparison to working with people physically, the nuances are gone and everything becomes routine. This is my first year taking online classes, and I feel that every one of my courses follow the same structure and rhythm that I’m worried that I’m not catching up on what is needed. It really does get overwhelming. But I feel that I have to make do with what I can because that is all that can be asked of me, but sometimes I sit in my desk, close the camera and try to listen to what is going on to the best of my ability. Not helped that all that I hear in ‘class’ is the audio I’ve posted above. It creates a rather desolate space for me to be in, but everyone else seems to be holding up well so I feel that I have to try even harder to make sure I don’t hold any class back in anyway.

I’ll be honest, online stuff isn’t my forte. Even way back in middle school, I spent most of my time reading, drawing, or being alone instead of using the internet for online stuff. I think I had a MySpace account a while back that I seldom use, and to this day my FaceBook and Twitter accounts are catching dust. Again I’m not knocking anyone who enjoys any of this and I wish them more happiness with it, but I do feel left out in a big way and this particular unit of digital citizenship/wellbeing struck a weird chord with me. Again I’m sorry for being a bit more negative in this post in particular, but if I’m opening myself up for discussion than the least I can do is provide insight in conjunction of what we are talking about.

2 replies on “Digital Wellbeing”

“It feels to me that the digital persona seems more important than the normal one.” This is such an insightful observation, and it rings truer now than ever. We’re stuck in this pandemic where the only way we can safely connect with others is through social media, which is usually less of an accurate portrayal of our identities and more of a carefully constructed facade meant to impress our followers. That disconnect is tough for anyone to deal with, but like you said, it’s even harder for artists like dancers or sculptors whose identities are so tied up in physical spaces.

I really appreciate you sharing that audio and describing how overwhelming online learning can feel. Your contributions to class are always really valuable and insightful, but I hope you’re still setting aside time and finding ways to take care of yourself outside of class, too!

It’s hard to describe what an all-virtual lifestyle really is. The convenience is surely there but it seems to be at the expense of mental health and other factors, and it’s hard not to be wary of the effects it can have long-term.

Thank you, I’m trying my best to participate with what I know which seems conflicted with the structure of the class but nonetheless I am happy/hoping that some of what I say has value.

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