Social media and relationships By: Everett

        Over the course of this class, I have been noticing more and more that many of the topics we discussed in class, that were unknown prior to learning of them, are represented quite frequently in society and everyday media. Social media has redefined how civilization portrays and communicates with itself. The use of handheld devices practically dominates the market, with a need for more upgrades and tools that allow more ways to communicate and document our online lives. We see each other normally in the light of reality, but when our observation is focused upon the digital domain, we are able to re invent ourselves and to create identities full of our brightest and most desirable attributes and achievements. With the technological age we are living in only advancing, society is left to join and assimilate with the rest of popular culture. Even though social media has brought upon minor negatives to societies previous form of communication and interaction, it has provided the people with an outlet to expand, create, and to define yourself with a plethora of platforms at your disposal.

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About Emerging Mediums and the Changing Notion of Communication By: Alex

Innovations signify change, the invention of the internet revolutionized how the world operates, the invention of the automobile transformed transportation and urban design, and the discovery of electricity catalyzed other inventions which helped change society. It is important to question critically the impacts technologies have on individuals; much so, most of these inventions have harbored a human dependence on them. What would we do without the automobile, the light bulb, electricity and other various industrial components? Rightfully so, technologies have improved the conditions of life, and created opportunities for improvement and growth in humanity. However, when applications of technologies such as social media become a pervasive part of our social lives, transforming the way we interact with one another, it forces us to question exactly how social media changes people’s lives, and the culture of socialization. It is clear that social media and digital communication have changed the way we define socialization, as for some cases it is “a large part of the way that [we] interact” (“When Social Media”).

Because communication is highly dependent on emotional cues, whether through facial and or vocal expression, it is less hard to be misunderstood when speaking in person. And because the medium is the message, it without question that when digital communication strips away emotional and subconscious cues, the medium of communication is altered and thus the message as well. I think people must be aware that sometimes other channels of interaction constitute a specific form of communication, consequently we cannot become accustomed to a form of communication which hinders our ability to express ourselves effectively and naturally. Certainly, we should use other mediums of exchanging information as tools to reach out to others, but we must be mindful of which approach of communication is most appropriate for the certain situation, and not become too reliant on any form of medium communication.

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Changing Dynamics in Social Media Usage by Anthony

I find the relationship between social media and one’s personal character, identity, and personality is dynamic and ever changing. The interaction between social media is not stagnant, nor is it permanent. I doubt I will have a twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook account for the rest of my life or perhaps I might, but that speaks to the changing nature of individuals and social media usage.
I find this changing relationship to especially pertinent in my own usage with social media. When doing the audit of social media, I found myself to be leaning extremely to the highly selective of experiences shared end of the spectrum. I hardly find myself posting about my personal experiences and that is not something that had always been the case. For example, when I first got on social media in high school and got comfortable with its usage, I remember I was far more active in sharing the details of my life and what I was doing more on a day to day basis. However, the relationship between social media and my public persona is always changing. As time went on, I found myself less and less active to where I hardly post about anything about my personal experiences. I find this change in my own experience to gradual and natural. I never put too much thought into this changing relationship, for it was nothing but a subtle occurrence. In relating this to how individuals present themselves, I wonder if people’s change in usage is noticed by others and do they look at others who do not use social media as frequently in a different lens. If an individual does not post about their experiences in life, and for this example, it was a good experience. It does not mean that the certain experience did not happen in their lives. I wonder how that is received to others on social media, when their friend or someone they follow tends to not post on social media as much. In the eyes of others, does the experience people do not post about become any less validated? In a rational way of thinking, the answer should clearly be no; however, some might feel this way and view others that do not share about their experiences as less relatable or sociable than others. Overall, even when people change their social media habits, whether it goes unnoticed by others or not, it comes down to individual preferences and their own experiences with social media. In those experiences, people may grow tired or become more intrigued, but I think it is always changing in how individuals perceive their social media.

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Shift of Social Media Use in HS

By: Lidia

Personally, I wasn’t fully emerged into the social media world until I got my own and first smartphone when I was 15, during my freshman year of high school. At first, it was just to keep up with what people were saying and doing, like “did you see what Linda said about Becca?” or “Jenny and John aren’t together anymore because of what John tweeted last night” and so on, because it sucked to not know what people were talking about and, sometimes, actually being excluded from conversations because no one seemed to want to fill you in. Plus, it wasn’t that I cared about Becca, Jenny or John, I just hated not being able to say anything and just sit there during lunch. So once I got my first smartphone, I was able to join the conversations and pitch in my own ideas and “theories” on what’s going on with our peers. But that only lasted for two years.

By my junior year, I switched to a new group of friends who were more like me (social, but also taking AP classes and involved in sports), who didn’t really have time or cared much about keeping up the our class’ latest gossip (my graduating class size was almost 400). It was like our topics of people we talked about shrunk to those who we had class together and almost all talked to or knew somehow, but our discussions about politics, world events, critiques on films, etc., increased dramatically. I think it was mostly because we were all juniors taking AP Language and Composition with a teacher who was passionate about having us write analytical papers about “educated” topics, so we could “expand our minds and see new horizons”.  And most of them were also taking AP US History with a teacher who also believed in seeing multiple angles to a controversial time period, event, etc. So having these kinds of teachers did influence who we started to follow on things, like twitter; for example I was only following CNN, but then I following other news accounts, including FOX news.

Though we did change from using social media to keep up with our classmates to keep up with the world around us, there were a couple of things that didn’t change. Such as if you unfollowed someone from social media that you knew, they’d take it as a personal offense, or if they didn’t follow you back, then it was also a personal offense. Social media was still seen as a representation of the actual person and if you avoided them on social media, then it’s because you didn’t like them in real life.

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Technology Culture by Evelin

tech

Technology

Back to The Future was a movie that made many predictions about what was  for them the future. Though not all of the predictions became true, they got the overall idea right, technology would be a great aspect of society. We now have small version of a computer with incredibly fast internet at the tips of our hand at all times. According to many scientist, our body (human) evolved to its current form and shape because of series of events that made it extremely necessary in order to survive. In other words, our anatomy developed over time to maximize the chances of our survival; each and every part of our body became tools. However, there was a stop to that anatomical development (at least in the outer physical aspects), that is when our species started to create their own tools. Overtime, our nails were not needed to be so long to cut or use them as self defence, because we created sharp tools out of wood and rock, and overtime, metal. Though, the human body  may have stopped evolving, the evolution of tools emerged. Since then, it continues to do so in a shockingly rapid manner; and with it, our over dependence and reliance on today’s greatest (to some degree) and most advanced tool, technology in all its forms.

Technology can make our lives much more easier than it was not too many years ago. However, I wonder whether there is an extent to which it becomes a negative aspect of society? In my humble opinion, I believe there is an extent where technology can become harmful. Some may argue that technology is the best asset to today’s society, and I am in stand to say that they are a hundred per cent wrong, because I am typing this essay on a type of technology (laptop) that facilitates in so many ways in which I do my school assignments, something that my mom and even siblings didn’t have and envy me for. But, to some extent, though technology facilitates every aspect of life, we may have become too dependable on it. Alarm clocks (or phones), are one of my greatest personal examples. A few years back I used to wake up without having to hear the loud ringtone near my ear, that has changed when I started setting up my alarm. Now, my body has completely relied on it to wake up, and when it does not go off, my whole day goes off. That does not happen just to me though, a few months back, my mother did not set an alarm to get up each morning, I then advised her to do in case she ever risked oversleeping; she is now dependent on an alarm, too.

Getting around from place to place has never been so easy, and the GPS (Global Positioning System) has to be accredited for that. Personally, having a voice from my phone tell where to go gave the confidence to drive to new places when I had just begun driving. I remember I thought I would never drive across those scary Portland bridges, but having a GPS gave me the courage to do so. But besides those great aspects of the tool, Eleanor et al have found that we may be missing on a lot of cognitive development when relying on a GPS; this is as they found that London taxi drivers had greater grey matter, or hippocampi (2000). The reliance on a GPS may cause to not fully process and mentally solving maps, therefore storing and easing the retrieval of information in a much more effective way.

Technology can and has influenced or social life more than we tend to give it credit to. Today, many have used technology in the name of “greater communication”. Social media has evolved to be part of most people today (with one of those exceptions being  my mom). Now, people can see images of one another on the screen of a computer, smartphone, and/or watch. It sure is handy to be able to communicate “face-to-face” with a person with technology, but there may be a problem when that is the only way we interact with people. Though the creators of online dating sites may not agree, physical and direct communication is necessary for our well being. If we become more comfortable telling people we like them through the tap of a screen, we make have(arguably) become antisocial. Not to mention the dilemma of us trying to recreate perfect images of ourselves to seek social approval.

Finally, and one of the most important evolutions of technology (mostly for the market), is its use to sell products. We are blessed to have an easier time because of technology, but the market’s main use of technology is to make profit. Now, we do not have to turn on a television to see ads of products that are portrayed as an absolute need; today, all we have to do is unlock our phone screens, open one our many apps and be bombarded with advertisements. We can no longer listen to online music without it being interrupted with ads about services that are, conveniently, close to where we (or our mobile devices) are. This clearly shows and supports the theory of a production-centric culture. As it seems, technology serves as a medium for the market to tell us what we need (to buy).

I am by no means attempting to devilize technology, much less to proclaim a ban to it. I would be a hypocrite if I this were the purpose of this paper. My opinion is that we need to become conscious consumers and citizens. Technology is everywhere we go and plan on going. Technology has an impact in our lives every single day, and because of that, we need to be aware of what it does to us. Like other topics, the topic of technology and its effects is very important for us to study. However, I believe that spending the little time we have in this class would be of great benefit for everyone. Because after all, today’s popular culture would not be without the existence of technology.

References

  1. www.gislounge.com/spatial-orientation-and-the-brain-the-effects-of-map-reading-and-navigation
  1. Eleanor A. Maguire, David G. Gadian, Ingrid S. Johnsrude, Catriona D. Good, John Ashburner, Richard S. J. Frackowiak, and Christopher D. Frith.  “Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers“.  PNAS 2000 97 (8) 4398-4403; published ahead of print March 14, 2000, doi:10.1073/pnas.070039597

3. O’Brien S. and Szeman, Imre (2004) Popular Culture: A User’s Guide. “The Culture Industry Thesis.”

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Social Media and Relationship by Aria

In my opinion, social media has a significant impact on our daily lives. It can impact how we socialize, how we think, and how we make decisions. I do not think that there is a single person whose life has not been affected by social media in some ways. In my perspective, social media can both weaken our relationships or strengthen the bonds. It largely depends on the individuals and how much they are addicted to social media. I think that those who are spending more time staring at screens and surfing in social media, are less successful in making a good relationship and socialize in the real world. As an example, I was addicted to social media in my high school and spent several hours just staring at my phone. After some time, I could not make regular conversations with my classmates or talk to my teachers about my problems. I kind of forgot how to socialize and I reached a point where I realized I had few friends. So this can be one negative side of social media that weakens the real connections and relationships that exist in the real world. However, it can improve relationships too. If I did not have Instagram or Facebook, I could not connect to my friends in other cities and countries. without social media, I kind of would have disconnected from them forever. I think that most of our relationships, connections, and interactions should be throughout the real world not by social media because we can enhance our skills to socialize and make new friends which has a lot of benefits in many aspects of life.

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Social Media and Relationships by: Emilia

With social media, I know I choose which site to post on very carefully depending on the type of post I want to make. I can’t talk politics on my Facebook without inciting drama within my family, can’t post long rants of Instagram due to the format, and can’t post about personal life drama on Twitter because those very people follow me there. I have to carefully curate exactly what I post where, and because of that, I have to carefully curate who I become to everyone who sees me on social media. I could be violently political, but it would ostracize my family. I could post all of my personal drama on Twitter, but it would be an invasion of my friend’s privacy. I could post daily updates of boring events and weekends spent in bed on Snapchat, but that would be boring and possibly make my friends uncomfortable. And I could say whatever I wanted anywhere, but then I risk a future employer finding it and using it against me, be it something bad like illegal drugs or something innocent like my sexuality. Transformation isn’t a choice, it’s something we have to become if we want to be accepted in a society run by social media. Yes, there is an issue with how people present themselves on social media as an ideal self over real self, but not all 700 of your Facebook friends care about every aspect of your real self, nor is your real self always accepted on social media. We have to engage in transformation and the ideal self on social media.

But I am a firm believer in the idea that social media is not 100%, nor is it even half bad. A majority of my friends are people I either have never met before, or are people I rarely see in person, but maintain a friendship with over social media. It may lower the rates in which people engage in intimate friendships and relationships, but it’s much better than absolutely nothing, which is the alternate for so many people. Whereas real life doesn’t let you project your interests to anyone interested, social media lets you see the main things someone is interested in before you decide to interact with them. It lets us get to know people before even meeting them (to some extent, since we do still curate who we are projecting on to social media). I’ve met more people interested in video games online than I ever met in person.

Social media can be a great added bonus to friendships and relationships that are already in real life, allowing people to share memes and jokes that make them think of the other person or that they thought they would like. It allows for people to communicate over time and distance that would normally not allow that. The idea that social media ruins relationships is only true, in my opinion, for those who let it ruin them. If you’re so distracted by Twitter on a date, if you don’t say hi to your friends while hanging out because you’re checking Snapchat, if you’re more interested in talking with the girl who commented on your selfie than your girlfriend, your relationship was weak to begin with or you have a social media problem that needs to be addressed. People are going to be disinterested, people are going to cheat. Social media just changed the way we do it.

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