to program or be programmed – choice

‘Life is full of choices. Choose carefully’

was a sign I read every M-F of my high school days. The mantra hung outside the classroom door of my senior English class and I always despised it. For an indecisive individual like myself, I find choices to be annoying.

Where should we go for dinner? What should we do Saturday night? When should we call the landlord?

There are so many choices and with these choices come many different options, which makes it harder to make a choice. I find myself having to play a game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo in order to make a decision for some of the minor choices I have to make, and sometimes I feel as though I am forced to make a decision because others are way more indecisive than me. I’d rather not make the choice at all and have others I am with make the choice instead, that way the pressure is off.

I admit though, that choice making is best when there is more than one option; making a choice when there are only two options is very limiting and can have an unexpected result. Yes or no, right or left, stop or go, are all choices that can have adverse affects if chosen incorrectly. That’s when the pressure is really on.

I feel as though media offers many limiting choices. To tag or not to tag, to update or not to update, to blog or not to blog, to reply or to ignore: the choices is ours, and it’s entirely limiting. If I don’t tag my sorority sister in a picture, she most likely will tag herself (or better yet, one of our 100 will). If I don’t update my status the less of a presence I will have on Facebook and the less people will know about me so and that’s the main reason I have a Facebook right?so might as well update. If I don’t update my blog I am going against the purpose of creating it and I might also lose followers, so might as well blog. If I don’t reply to that Facebook message or text message that person will think I am ignoring them and freak out as well as probably second guess our friendship therefore, might as well reply. These thoughts consistently take over my decisions limiting my choices preventing me from the choice I seem to be forgetting –> none of the above.

In Program or be Programmed, Douglass Rushkoff believes, “We are free to withhold choice, resist categorization, or even go for something not on the list of available options…Withholding choice is not death…it is one of the few things distinguishing life from its digital imitators” (p. 60).

So here I am all this time thinking I have to make these choices and I must choose them carefully. Here I was feeling pressured that my choice wasn’t the wise choice, the careful choice. I’ve been too busy making choices that I haven’t had time to realize that I don’t have to always make a choice or even that I can pick or suggest from different options, not just what I am presented with.

Realizing that choices can take a back seat or be emptied in the trash every now and then is a relief for my indecisive self. I think this realization will really help with my upcoming new media diet because I won’t feel as big of a need to make a choice about one of my many social media sites; I can withhold the choices for the 72 hours of fasting and from there on lessen the choices I make with social media (and maybe even life decisions).

still need some help making decisions/choices? maybe this will help!

Do you think it’s possible to withhold from making choices?

Has a social media site like Facebook or Tumblr ever forced you into a choice? Did you have a hard time accepting the choice? or, Did you like that the choice was made for you?


About MegMia
journalism major who brings a little optimism to a world full of pessimism.

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