A Day in the Life

Made by mmzucker

In this project, I explore the many direct and indirect ways the media influences you on a daily basis by cataloging my experiences with media for an entire day.

Created: September 8th, 2015


Friday, September 4, the year 2015.

My day begins with the chirping of the alarm I've set on my phone. Rolling over in bed to grab it, I immediately see two emails to my school account, and an Instagram notification letting me know a friend from home has "liked" a photo. Before getting out of bed, I check the emails. One tells me where my Mechanical Engineering Seminal class is going to be and the other is an email from my Professor letting me know when to meet with him. 

After slowly and sleepily getting ready to go to classes, I find that I'm a little ahead of schedule and have time to eat my bagel at home. No housemates in sight, I eat my breakfast in one hand, and lazily swipe down on my Instagram feed to pass the time. A picture a friend posted of art on the Berlin Wall catches my eye. I throw it a like.


In class we sit in a circle of chairs and talk about webpages, emails, and other course resources. A giant television screen prompts us to answer some questions about ourselves and we obey it. Upon being released, I check my phone once again to see some texts from friends about logistics for the day. We're diving to Philadelphia today for a music festival and don't want to get in too late. 

On this sunny day, the quad is a sweaty mix of people proudly ingesting media. People wearing shirts with tech logos on them walk clumsily with phones to their faces while music blasts and others shout at you to "come talk about buggy" using brand-name snacks as incentive. 

Stopping at a table outside the UC, I open Facebook Messenger on my phone and send a message to the Freshman I was supposed to meet to sell a book to. A quick "I'm here" lets him know I'm waiting. Though I was worried about being able to sell books back, joining the "CMU Class of 2019+" group on Facebook and posting a message about selling books was all I needed to get in touch with this guy. While I wait, I open Snapchat and look at the little seven second videos some friends sent me from the bars last night. They look like they were having a great time, but then again, everyone who posts content for social media does a good job of looking like they're having a great time. 

Now flipping through the more indirect "Snapstories", I determine that the majority of people I'm friends with on Snapchat post stories that make their lives look crazy and interesting. I suppose that's what this platform's about. 

When I get home, I connect to my home wifi network and blast The Weekend using a music streaming website. Nowadays, Soundcloud is my go-to after having abandoned Spotify for playing ads every 4 songs. I take dance breaks between folding laundry that was wrinkled from the night before then move downstairs to make lunch and continue watching Criminal Minds on my laptop. 


In the afternoon, I pile into a car with friends and we get on the road to Philly. Having all determined that we need to get pumped for Beyonce, a friend plugs in her phone to the car stereo and streams Beyonce's music videos on Youtube. Though the songs stop more and m0re often the further out East we drive, she doesn't seem bothered by the lack of cell service and determines that we should continue streaming music on Youtube since she says downloading music is too cumbersome nowadays. 

As we bump some Beyonce in the car,  I watch two friends in the backseat take videos of themselves dancing to Beyonce and send them via Snapchat. Although I am used to seeing this behavior, the "look how much fun I'm having" Snapchat has always baffled me. I make a mental note to try to avoid doing that. 

Though its a rural drive, I find the highway littered with media influences. With the occasional Youtube advertisement for a J. Cole mixtape or a family health insurance plan, we get little tidbits of advertisements before skipping through it. In addition to the ads playing from Youtube, there are billboards on either sides of the highway. They show Casino dinner specials, home improvement services, and fast food stop-offs. Despite the darkening skies, the billboards remain illuminated such that everyone can see them. I make note that there are no street lamps provided by the state, but the lighted billboards do a pretty good job of lighting the roads. 


After a series of Yonce songs curated by Youtube's suggested videos, we turn on the car radio and listen to classical music for the rest of the way. With better radio reception than cell service, we decide that the radio is a good option and nod off to some Beethoven as we drive through rural Pennsylvania. Tomorrow's music festival will surely be a whirlwind of advertisements, product placement, and other media outlets, but for now we all take solace in the calm of the moment. 

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In this project, I explore the many direct and indirect ways the media influences you on a daily basis by cataloging my experiences with media for an entire day.