The assignment for my Slow Media class: Carry a journal with you for one week. Write or draw whatever you want in it. Just think of something to fill every page before submitting it. To get warmed up to the idea of journal-keeping, we read and discussed articles about the Moleskine revival.
One student found friends admiring her journal and saying that they had one, too. She had never heard of Moleskines before and started noticing them everywhere. By contrast, another student said people mistook his journal for a passport and wondered why he carried it around with him.
“I saw a girl on the train (probably in her 20s) carrying a big bag of VHS tapes,” one wrote. It made her smile because in the previous day’s class we had been talking about the extinction of videocassettes. “Oh, how the world works!”
Some of them opted to sketch and doodle; some were less creative. Keep in mind that these weren’t art or communication majors; many of them were pursing Pharmacy degrees and studying a lot of organic chemistry.
Some of them shared quotes that had caught their attention, like this one from computer designer and software publisher Adam Osborne: “People think computers will keep them from making mistakes. They’re wrong. With computers you make mistakes faster.”
Some of my students shared personal thoughts about their relationships with technology, other people and themselves; others were less reflective. Most of them enjoyed the project; a few less so. The author of this journal (below) considered the journal a burden. On another page, he implored, “Facebook, why are you so terribly distracting?”