I open this first blog post of the new semester with one of my favorite images from artist Toby Ng.


Given that the theme of this course is about digital media and new technologies, I figured this image would be appropriately representational for what to keep in mind this semester.

I think that many of us take our digital technology for granted. My friend Steph recently told me a story about a man taking a flight on Southwest Airlines:

The airline now offers free Wi-Fi to passengers, the first airline to do so. On this specific flight, once the plane was in air and the pilot announced that anyone wishing to use the Wi-Fi may then connect, the signal failed and the service went down for five minutes until the crew restarted the router and got the signal up again. Apparently, one passenger freaked out because he could not connect in that five minutes of time the signal was down.

Steph said this: “I mean, really. He was pissed off missing something he has never even had before.”

I admit it; when a signal crashes at any given coffee shop that I am parked at and diligently working (re: surfing celebrity blogs), I get pretty frustrated. Once Steph told me this story, I had to really think about how much I assume new technology is going to always be available to me simply because I live in a country in which it is and I can afford to access it.

How digital media and new technologies have shaped my day! When I get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I do is get online—with Road Runner Turbo Boost—and check the news on cnn.com. Then I check my email at Yahoo, Gmail and my school address. Then I hit up Facebook. Finally, I round it out by checking Perez Hilton and TMZ. After a quick shower, I get on my iPhone and check my iCal and To Do list for the day (no snarky comments about hitting up Perez before scoping out my day’s activities, please. I already know I am fickle!) When I drive to campus, I listen to a mix that I burned myself or I hit up an audio book that I play through my car stereo.

When I am home in the evening, I have at least two options: listening to Pandora on my computer—with speakers hooked up through my MacBook—or watching TV. Of which I can watch whatever is on broadcast channels, including cable; a movie or TV show on DVD; anything set up on the DVR or something I downloaded from the net which I can either burn to a DVD or watch on my iPod hooked up through a cable to my television. Even my reading habits are about to change due to the Kindle.

I come from a generation in which ATMs were not yet in existence (imagine life without 24 hour access to your money!) and microwaves were not even in our kitchens. When a movie came on TV, you watched it then because it would be another year before they put it through reruns. Yet today I am so reliant on digital media and new technologies, I am not sure what my day would be like without them.

So like the passenger on Southwest Airlines, I expect that I would throw a hissy fit if the signal went down, stuck on a flight from NYC to LA with no wireless access.

How about you? Could you make it through your day without your mp3 player? TV? Internet?