A Week without Mass Media

Person-to-person communication - what a concept!
by Jim Fair | Source:
I did something shocking last week. I went on vacation with my family in a small town in the mountains in a foreign country.

But that isn’t what was shocking. The shocking part was spending an entire week without the influence of the mass media and seeming to be no worse for it. In fact, I didn’t even experience sensory withdrawal.

Our room did have a television, but the channels were limited and in a foreign language. We turned on the set a couple times to laugh at things like Happy Days in Italian, but we really didn’t “watch” television.

There was not radio in the room. We turned the radio on in the car a couple times, but since we were in a mountainous area, the reception was awful and we quickly gave up.

I didn’t pick up a newspaper for the entire time. Frankly, in the little town in which we stayed, I didn’t even see a newspaper. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to read it.

Finally, I courageously left my laptop at home and didn’t check email or look at the internet for the entire vacation.

As a result, I found myself learning about the world around me by talking to other people, albeit it often with my scant phrases or Italian or their efforts at English. Undistracted by the various media, I spent lots of time actually talking with the other members of my family, sharing impressions of things we were seeing or doing while on vacation.

Person-to-person communication - what a concept!

Most surprising to me, when I returned to my office and turned on talk radio (for which I’m a bit of a junkie), it was as if the conversation picked up right where I had left it eight days before. Yes, the same two Democrats were still fighting it out. The same people liked or disliked the President. Advertisers were selling the same products. Some sports teams had won and some had lost.

I was better off talking to the people I love.


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