Throughout my life I have gone day to day without paying attention to how I interact with others or how much I use technology. The iExamen project, which I chose to do this past Sunday, has really opened my eyes to these aspects of my life. Because of this project, I am now able to see how just how much of a role technology plays in my life and how if I can cut myself off from electronic communication, even for an hour, it will change my day for the better.
When I woke up on Sunday, the first person that I saw was my roommate, Phil. He had been up for a little while and was actually waiting for me to get up so we could get something to eat. We immediately started talking. The conversation, like all of my conversations with Phil, was very natural. It was not hard to talk to him at all and even though I do not remember exactly what we talked about, I remember not having to think of what I was going to say; I jut said it. Then, we left for lunch. I passed a few people I knew on the walk to Boulder and, inspired by the project, I stopped and talked with two of them. Because I am not close to these people like I am with my roommate, the conversation was definitely more forced. They were, however, very successful because it allowed me to observe the way I talk to people I am not that close with and look at the way they talk to me. In both conversations, I felt most comfortable keeping eye contact. I actually kept eye contact the entire time, except for when I would focus on body language. Everyone I spoke to all day used hand gestures. Although some people used them way more than others, no one kept their hands at their side for a whole conversation.
Another thing that I paid attention to on Sunday was my conversations via text. These conversations were very brief and not personal at all. An example of this would be when I texted my friend Matt to see if he wanted to grab lunch with Phil and me. My first text to him, rather than saying hello or asking him how he was doing was “u wanna get lunch?” I did not realize how impersonal texting can be and how little effort people, including myself, put into having a conversation with someone electronically.
Then, at four o’clock, I set aside my phone and cut myself off from all electronic conversations. This was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. It was also very nice. In this hour, I absolutely felt like I was more alert. In fact, I was actually able to see how many people were in their own world while trying to text or check their emails while walking to class. Being that I was not distracted by texts, I also felt that my conversations with people during this hour were better. Once the hour was up, I had a few texts that I had to respond to, but after I responded I wanted to put my phone away for as long as possible. I now realize that while technology is a good thing, it can separate us way too much from the people around us. This observation was very interesting to see and I definitely would like to limit my use of electronic communication in the future.