Saturday, September 08, 2007

Life, Time, and Communication Media

So I've been moving this summer and then starting my new PhD program, which is primarily the reason I haven't been posting much to the "im here" blog. The other reason, I must admit, is having joined Facebook, where I've been keeping up with friends (without sacrificing seeing the friends I can see in person).

In other words, I've been spending more time on other pursuits--the ones I've mentioned and many others. Thinking about this displacement of time makes me realize a truth I somewhat grudge the existence of at times: that, in short, there's only so much time in a day.

For me, this is in part a difficult truth because I hate moving (particularly across the country) and how much time it's taken this summer from my reading and writing tasks.

But that's not the only reason. It's also a difficult truth to acknowledge because I'm loathe to admit, when it comes to media studies, that things change in our focus and attention when we start spending time on certain media. I'm one of those people that wants to have it all and make that okay.

Part of this difficulty in making an academic admission is personal. I don't want to admit that if I were to spend a lot of time watching TV, for instance, might mean that I might read or write less for awhile. Or that if I spend a lot of time communicating on the phone or hanging out with friends in person or spend my time on academic work, it keeps me from doing some of my creative writing.

These sorts of choices are especially apparent when one starts a new pattern of life in a new place. But of course, I also realize that they aren't just choices about which media to use. In part, they're also choices about who and how to spend my time communicating with, not just particular people but also among audiences: for instance, my friends and family, both far away and new ones in town; other academics through their writings and in class; or other creative people through their various creations on various media and by dialoguing with them by working my own stuff.

These decisions are of course choosing some media over others, but at their base they are primarily choices about how to balance the many activities and relationships of one's life--in this case, within a new environment while starting a new school season. The fact that we have so many media giving us so many communication options simply makes the decisions harder.

In some ways that's a bad thing, in that it threatens to overwhelm us at times. Also, choices of media aren't simply neutral choices--different media do carry with them certain biases we should keep in mind. On the other hand, it feels like a privilege to live in a world with so many options, and to be a thinking human being who is able to make choices among them.

Of course, I'm also thankful that now that I'm more settled into my new town and my new apartment, I can focus less attention on those overwhelming tasks involved in moving and settling in, which means I'll have more time again to spend on other things I'd prefer to be doing but haven't found enough time for in awhile (blogging and creative writing among them).

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