I thought it was very interesting that you talk about the concept of loneliness, and I am reminded of an article on thoughtcatalog that actually talks about the difference between being lonely and being alone. In a sentence, it argues that being lonely is what we commonly think of, the negative, isolated, unwanted feeling, but being alone simply means you’re comfortable in your own skin and to be in your own company. Maybe it’s because I’m a relatively independent person, but I truly believe that it’s necessary and healthy to feel alone once in a while. It takes a lot of confidence, in my opinion, to be comfortable with having nothing to do or to go to the movie theater alone. I sometimes worry that social media makes being alone seem unacceptable, loser-y, almost taboo by society?
Social media has enhanced our lives in so many ways its hard to name each of them. Another reason its hard to name each of them is because social media serves a different purpose for each of us. I think with these enhancements comes the responsibility of remembering what social media and technology makes easier. Social media and technology innovations has changed the world we live in for the better if used effectively. Social media connects us to virtually everyone, but some of the social skills should not be forgotten to pass along to generations to come. These basic social skills need to be passed along because it teaches delayed-gratification, self-discipline, and needed face-to-face communication skills. These skills are what some of our fundamental social skills are built upon. One that comes to mind is the development of patience that is learned through older communication methods. Developing patience comes from a collection of experiences and stages of maturity in life; one aspect of these of experiences that have significantly changed is instantaneously communication. The patience used in the process of writing/ sending a written letter is completely different than quickly writing an email. Since the mailing process takes significantly more time than the emailing process, the care and thoughtfulness differs. In a written letter, you take your time to make sure everything is perfect from the address to the closing remarks. In contrast, writing an email is normally quick and rushed; a majority of the time emails are sent from mobile devices so they are normally written on the go. This is a drastic example, but it does illustrate how a luxury such as emails have affected our physical lives and behaviors.
There are many reason to communicate ranging from it being part of our human nature to the need to transfer information. Another contributing factor is loneliness. Loneliness is a very basic feeling and a simple reason for human interaction is to not feel lonely. I think today’s technology has transformed our daily lives to always being plugged in and available to be reached at anytime. I think this thought of always being connected has changed how people experience loneliness. Before smart phones were affordable for everyone and before wifi was everywhere, people had to plan to use the internet (people also had to plan their time on the internet) because it wasn’t the limitless power source we know it to be today. During these times, people could actually have a few minutes maybe even hours to feel loneliness in the traditional sense. Loneliness upheld its true definition during these times which seem like the dark ages to our generation. Today’s definition of loneliness has a different vibe to it than it once did. Today, I think the meaning of lonely is more so frown upon with confusion because of the amount of effort it takes to be in the traditional sense lonely. I think the change of having the option to always be available changes how loneliness is perceived. The social network built through social media platforms are easily accessible through many outlets (normally more than one). Being virtually by yourself is almost impossible, and for many people that is enough to fulfill their need for human interaction.
I think it limits the reach of the group. Obviously, with less people means less ties to outside sources. Limited resources first comes to my mind when thinking of the downsides of groups in which everyone knows everyone. Another downside would I would choose to mention would be slowing of the development of communication skills. The more comfortable people are with one another, the less traditional the use of language becomes. If people in a small group only communicate with one another, I think their communication skills may be hindered because of the lack of a need to interact with new people and new ideas.
That was actually another point I was thinking about mentioning. Greeting and introductions are disappearing. It crazy to see something we were taught as children disappear so quickly. We have seen a difference in what we thought were basic traditions and behaviors change within our lifetime which isn’t very long.
That is basically what I am describing. It is just a matter of our online interaction mannerisms showing up in our physical interactions. Our laziness like you mentioned is a key contributor.
This shift is definitely interesting, and two particular examples come into mind. Both of these examples are related to Obama: the first is that Obama’s recent State of the Union speech is considered to be one of the most readable SOTUs in history (about a 9th grade level comprehension is sufficient), and that Obama recently had a 45-minute long interview on YouTube.
The readability example (for anyone who’s currently in COMM106, I’m sure you’ve heard of this too) is interesting because I am curious as to what Obama’s intentions are for speaking at a “dumber” level. Is he hoping to catch the attention of the younger demographic, or is our American language evolving to be simpler? Does the increase in social media usage have to do with how we stylistically and linguistically communicate?
The second example really surprised because I think the general population still view YouTube as just a website to pass the time and watch viral videos. The fact that this entire interview was published makes YouTube seem, to me, more credible and legitimate as an information platform available to the general public. I think this is a concrete example showing the transition of the objective of using social media platforms.
In class we talked a bit about driverless cars, and I brought up my huge fear of them. I thought I’d make a pro con list to sort out my thoughts.
1. Decrease traffic- obviously a good thing
2. Cut down on DUI’s- also obviously a great thing
3. Convenience factor/save time… if people weren’t focused on driving, cars could become a much more social or reflective or educational space. We could spend the 20 minute commute to work watching the news or catching up with friends and really engaging in conversation.
4. General increase in safety and decrease in deaths
5. Able to increase speed limits and save time
1. Nobody will have to learn how to drive. This can often be a really fun/special time for parents and kids… I still remember taking driving lessons with my dad, and it was a really good way for us to spend time together in my otherwise tumultuous “I hate my parents” teenage years.
2. Cars will be crazy expensive… at least at first.
3. Increased dependence on technology. What would someone who doesn’t know how to drive do if their driverless car broke down or stopped working and they were totally stuck? I suppose we still have that problem today with cars breaking down on the side of the road, but giving up our ability to transport ourselves and our control over where we want to go/be seems like a huge sacrifice and loss of humanity.
4. There’s a potential for all that data to be put in the wrong hands. Do we really want data to exist on our every move? Trackers in cars raise all kinds of issues about privacy, security, and safety.
5. Kids won’t have to depend on their parents anymore. I remember “running away as a child” and not making it more than a mile down the road before I got tired and went back home to my parents. Parents hold so much authority over children in controlling their ability to leave home. What would happen in a world where teenagers could run out of the house and drive off whenever they wanted?
I agree with Gabe- social media and technology really are beginning to shift us away from traditional norms of social etiquette. Another example I can think of is the typical introduction. Growing up, I was taught that if I was speaking with one person and another joined the conversation or if I was having a conversation with multiple people that I knew, it was my job to introduce each of my friends to each other. For example, if I was at a party chatting with my best friend Alex and one of my co-workers came over to say hi, I was responsible for saying something like “Oh
Julie, good to see you! Alex, this is my co-worker Julie, and Julie, this is my friend Alex.” However, I’ve seen this tradition start to disappear… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been chatting with a person only to be interrupted by another one of their friends, and it is always SO awkward just standing there silently listening to them have a conversation while mine is on pause. On social media, people rarely make “introductions” anymore… we rely on lists of mutual friends, short bios, profile pics and usernames to display introductory material. Because everyone’s basic info is so readily available, we don’t really need to take the time for proper introductions online… And I think getting comfortable with this practice may be leading some of us to forget how important and helpful introductions are in the real world for facilitation conversation and keeping everyone involved!
Here it goes:
1. Multiple Members. This may seem like a pretty obvious statement (and it is), but in order to have a community, you have to have more than just yourself. I also think there ought to be some sort of hierarchy or sorting mechanism for members. There are typically a few community leaders, a few community leaches, a large number of active members, and a number of passive members as well. I personally don’t do well with ambiguity or uncertainty, so having an easily identifiable hierarchy is helpful.
2. Purpose. Because people are so different, for any type of unifying body, there needs to be a shared goal, vision, or purpose. There needs to be a clear sense of what members can expect to give to the community and what they’ll get in return. I can have a community of neighbors, of sorority sisters, of fellow gym rats, etc… but I can’t have a community of people with nothing in common other than the fact that they exist.
3. Means of Communication. A community of solitude sounds more like shared isolation than a true community. In order to band together, people need to have a mechanism to share their ideas and thoughts. That can be basic language, an organized forum, an email/Facebook/social media group, etc. But every community needs to have a designated space for communication.
4. Means of Building Loyalty/Relationships. In today’s ever-expanding society, if someone joins a community that they just don’t click with, they can hop right back out and join another community elsewhere. For a community to really engage and retain members, they need to establish relationships within the communities, bonds with other members, or some sort of loyalty to the community itself.
5. Clear Expectations for Behavior. In order for people to start building the aforementioned relationships and bonds, they need a bit of guidance. For example, online communities each have their own cultures and set of expectations for what is allowed and what isn’t okay, and people need this sort of consistency to help guide their interactions… particularly in the early days of a community. Without behavioral expectations — defined implicitly or explicitly — people may be shy, unsure of how to act, or at risk of offending other community members.