Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post 5: Technology & Interpersonal Relationships

New communication technologies have redefined interpersonal relationships. What is the impact of such technologies (e.g., cell phones, Facebook, Skype, twitter,, etc.) on your social ties? For this posting, please describe some of the effects, either positive or negative, that you or someone you know have experienced.

If you don’t have any direct observations, please comments on the video The Social Web of Things ( that was part of the last Prezi lecture.


N B Kelly said...

I am a bit baffled by “The Social Web of Things” video. Like others who commented on YouTube, I found it depressing. The music in the first half is kind of spooky. It does not seem to be showing a vision of the future in which people might want to engage. And yet, it is apparently created by Ericsson, whose website states:

“At Ericsson we use innovation to empower people, business and society. We envisage a Networked Society that is sustainable, and where everything that can benefit from a connection will have one. Our mobile and fixed networks, multimedia solutions and telecom services make a real difference to people’s lives, and the world we live in.”

I feel a large disconnect between the company’s message here versus the video’s message. I am also confused about the actor’s unblocking of Sophia in the beginning of the video. First I thought she was blocked from his social network, and then she got back “in his good graces.” (When he unblocks, he kind of gives an evil little smile.) Then I thought, well, maybe he’s unblocking her from entrance to his apartment. But that wouldn’t really be an “unblock,” would it? It would be something like, “allow entrance.” Now I am realizing that they have a “hot and cold” relationship. They had something going; then something happened and he blocked her; then he’s going to have dinner with her so he unblocks her; then she cancels (?); later he ignores her call and ends up alone. The drama! This was obviously thought up by someone who finds something appealing about this scenario, but I think it just reinforces Bugeja’s polemic on the “interpersonal divide.” Is Sophia any different than the other “things” in this guy’s “social” web? Well, the things are reliable; the people aren’t.

Bobbi Newman said...

I’ll skip commenting on the Social Web of Things (I could write a whole essay on that video) and comment on my personal experience.

In my comments and papers I have repeatedly stated that my technology and social media accounts are tools that serve me and not the other way around. I use both Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and my technology for personal and professional connections so I’ll break this into two sections professional impact and personal impact.
Professionally I have been using social media tools such as Twitter, Blogging, Facebook (and MySpace before that) and Flickr for years. I write a professional blog (its won a couple of awards) I have a professional Twitter account with over 7,000 followers. I also maintain a professional Facebook fan page for my blog and several other professional projects I manage. I am aware that it can be easy to get “sucked in” to both FB and Twitter both in reading and replying to contacts there and by clicking on the links that others share so I try to carefully manage my time on both. My professional presence on this social networks allows me to connect with other professionals, exchange ideas in real time, share resources, answer questions and post questions to others. My blog has allowed me to share resources, opinion and flesh out ideas with others. All of these connections to the community at large helps me keep up-to-date and informed on professional development. It has led to my success as a writer and speaker and resulted in numerous invitations to speak (both nationally and internationally) and write. I do not think that social networking tools are for everyone at every time in every place but they are valuable when used with intent and forethought. The majority of my engagement in this aspect is done through a computer. I make it habit not to check email, Twitter, my professional FaceBook account etc from my phone instead I dedicate time to each at the computer so I can respond well.

I also use all of these tools personally, though I no longer keep a personal blog. The last year has seen a great many changes in my life I have moved 3 times and I am in a new city where I don’t know many people yet, and I have a new nephew. Thanks to social media, my computer, iPad and my telephone I am able to feel connected to family and friends at a time when their support is doubly important in my life. Through my private Twitter account I have asynchronous connection with friends across the country and around the world. I could text them as well but Twitter allows for a group conversation that we can all engage in when we have time. The same for Facebook, I can see photos of friends, share ideas and just check in when we can. We also use email, twitter, FaceTime and phone calls to keep in touch. The last year has been especially challenging for me and I can’t imagine having gone though it without all of these tools to keep me connected to the people who love me. I am also actively engaged in the physical world around me, making new friends in Des Moines and getting out and engaging with others. I find it disturbing when people refer to the physical world as the “real world” as if virtual space does not involve real human beings with real feelings and real relationships. It is important that everyone has different needs at different times of their life. If you’re living in an area where you are surrounded with family and/or friends who think and feel the way you do about most things it may be unlikely that you see the need for a virtual interaction but that does not mean that it does not serve a valuable role for those who do use and who need it to connect with others.

Dan MacKenzie said...

In one aspect, I agree with Dr. Bugeja’s argument that communication is sometimes lessened by technology. However I also think that through proper management and using different types of technology, that communication can be heightened. He has yet to make the argument for end-user responsibility, but I am keeping up hope.

I agree with the argument against obtrusive media. I use my own experience with Facebook as my example. I first joined Facebook in 2004, when it was brand new. At the time you could only be friends with people who were at your college. Not all colleges were even on the network yet, and it was not open to the general public. I joined as a way to meet some of the new kids at my school, since it was large enough that I could never possibly meet that many people in person. It worked well. Even as I transferred schools, it allowed me to meet new people and find out about different social groups—most of which I ended up talking with in real life. What I appreciated was the idea of the closed system, only people you had a chance of seeing in classes were within reach. Soon enough you could make friends with people from other colleges, as long as they were on the network.

I had people I wanted to be immediate with, friends and classmates. Then I had people who I could be polite to in person but ignore otherwise. Eventually the general public could join. I started getting messages and friend requests from people I barely knew, let alone wanted to know. I appreciated the idea previously that I could keep my networks distinct. All of a sudden my goings-on were being broadcasted on my page to pretty much anyone who wanted to check in. This was right after the newsfeed had been created. Instead of living with my personal life being broadcast, I deleted my Facebook account in 2007 (when you could still ostensibly delete your presence from the site.) In this sense I saw that this technology had the distinct disadvantage of being obtrusive.

I took the low road and deleted my account, but many people took the high road and used privacy settings. My point is that there is a control by the user over the technology. A person has a choice to be as public or as private as they want (to a certain degree, the marketing and data mining problems behind Facebook would be something that Dr. Bugeja and I might agree on). The impact is manageable if you take the time to manage it. For me, it was not important enough. It became a nuisance, and I left it behind. I lose out on a certain amount of socialization by not using the website, but then again I am OK with being disconnected from certain things.

In another sense, I think technology can greatly enhance the intimate relationships one already has. I share my experience with Skype for this example. My girlfriend moved to Ohio last year to attend graduate school at Miami University. Skype has been a big part of our relationship ever since. It allows me to actually see her on a daily basis, even though she lives 10 hours away. Were it not for this technology, I don’t think maintaining our relationship would be nearly as easy as it has been. The technology allows us to shrink the distance between us. I like the idea of Skype in that it is more of a telephone system than anything. I can answer whomever I choose, and I can turn it off when I want.

In each case I have chosen to manage the technology, and have dealt with the fact that I lose out on certain things by not using one of them. This is my point though; one can choose not to use a medium, or to even ignore certain aspects of a medium. The medium and its related technology are not the ones with the power. I read a certain sense of helplessness in Dr. Bugeja’s arguments, and I suppose that is the biggest disagreement I have with this book so far.

Dan MacKenzie said...

I would like to comment on the social web video as well. I agree with Bobbi that it could warrant its own essay. But generally I thought the whole thing was quite odd. If its goal was to show a possible future where “more than 50 billion things will be connected, in order to make our lives and our businesses more efficient and more enjoyable” it did an awkward job of it. It seemed like more of a dystopian sci-fi than an optimistic way to sell an idea.

Stuart Davidson said...

To comment on my personal experiences with social media: I joined Facebook in 2007 shortly after I began my undergraduate degree. I originally joined as a way to stay in touch with old friends as well as communicate and become familiar with new people that I met at college. The website was already a large presence on college campuses when I joined, it seemed like everyone that I knew already had a profile. It was a pretty good tool for communicating with classmates and finding out about event happenings.

Facebook also had some unintended consequences as a distraction. It seemed like every time I was online at night trying to do school work I would check my news feed. I was checking my news feed one night and realized that I didn’t really care what John Doe was eating for dinner or what song lyrics Suzy Lee thought described her life. I deleted profile as well as my Twitter account, and decided not to maintain a social network presence. I was also tired of the companies had began using the sites as a marketing tool. I was getting the personalized advertisements on Facebook and it seemed like everyone on Twitter was selling products or promoting something.

N B Kelly said...

Bobbi, I enjoyed checking out your website. I agree that it is easy to get sucked into all the social tools available to present one’s “virtual face.” At the moment, I have decided to just put up a static resume so that I can concentrate on school. Besides the time issue, I stay away from blogging or tweeting because I think that I would always be wondering that however benign the post, I might be alienating someone (e.g., a potential employer). It just seems easier and safer to avoid that whole realm. This is similar to Dan deleting his Facebook account – he says it just became a nuisance. These tools can be time-savers or time-wasters, relationship-building or relationship-ruining, all depending on the user’s judgment (as with any tool humans use!).

iafuelrunner said...

My POSITIVE interpersonal redefinition experience occurred when my extended family from Oregon, Minnesota and beyond reunited for a special occasion several years ago. Before the event, we only talked on the phone at major holidays and sometimes received news about major family events second or third-hand via word of mouth.

At the event, it took us all a while to “warm up” to each other” because we were like strangers.
After the event, we had many photos from the reunion and began posting them on Facebook. From there, it seemed we had opened this door for regular two-way communication that we did not have before. We often post on each other’s walls, share photos and read blogs from the other families.

At an event two years later, it was a much quicker connection because we had been keeping up on what was going in each others’ immediate families. This social communication has made this extended family who lives long distance a stronger, more connected one because we were not communicating using other mediums before social media.

A NEGATIVE experience with a change interpersonal communication is when one person in a relationship (husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend) adopts a social media technology more quickly than the other. In this case, one was a early majority and the other is a laggard. The early majority person is “friends” with the laggards real-life friends on Facebook so is able to keep up on what’s going on in their lives more easily than the laggard who does not use Facebook.

It makes it difficult because the laggard likes to be in contact in person and on the phone, but their friends are now using Facebook and he is often left out of knowing about “events” that his friends are hosting. It creates difficulty because the other early majority folks are assuming all of their friends (real life) use Facebook to communicate and the laggard ends up feeling left behind.

iafuelrunner said...

So if am counting right, two people in this class have deleted their Facebook accounts?

Stuart mentioned feeling frustrated by Facebook-led advertising. I am curious how you feel about the promotion of Facebook connections via TV, radio and other communication technologies if you have delelted your own Facebook account and cannot connect in that way?

Dan MacKenzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan MacKenzie said...

In response to your question Alicia about Facebook-only promotions, I have mixed feelings. Specifically around promotions for 'liking' a page.

On the one hand, I feel a bit left out. It seems odd that a company would ignore a segment of the population. Although I suppose by now I am in a minority segment. And as I mentioned earlier, I knew being left out was part of the consequences for leaving the site.

On the other hand, I continually see studies coming out about how useless those likes are to a company. Like this one from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science.

The study basically says while soliciting likes seems to be a good way to engage a customer, they really don't amount to anything in the real world. It was a relatively small study, but they found no significant positive correlation between Facebook engagement and brand loyalty or increased sales.

I have always been cynical of the Facebook approach, often wondering why someone would want to be friends with their bank on a social network, for example, or what benefit the bank thought they might get out of that.

Anand Tripathi said...

My experience with Social Media has been great. When I was growing up as a kid in India the biggest social media I was exposed to was ICQ and Yahoo Chat rooms. I do admit to spending a lot of time chatting in those chat rooms filled with people from all over the world. ICQ was more of a medium to chat with my friends and family. I have been using the social media for almost little over six years to stay in touch with my friends and family. Before I joined Facebook there was Friendster and Orkut. It was nice to see and re-connect with people you haven't seen in like ten years. After that facebook came and wiped out almost all the other social media sites and everyone was part of the bandwagon. So when facebook started I became a big fan of it and used to be really active. Slowly but steadily facebook is becoming a dying art. The stock prices of facebook are not fascinating me either. Today facebook is not what it was 5 years ago. I want the facebook where people posted funny status messages, not inundate my inbox with several Farmville requests. Technology is good as long as it is exclusive and unique.

With so much exposure to social media comes privacy and security issues.Today any picture taken on my Iphone has the location stamp attached to it. Facial recognition is another threat to privacy invasion. I am seeing people from my work as ‘people you may know’ pop up in my facebook although we don’t have any common friends. It’s because facebook is stealing names from my phonebook. Recently facebook had to withdraw its feature of finding people around you in the same general vicinity. It’s funny how much of the villain Facebook has become. Google+ pretty much has that "people around me" feature and no one cares (because no one uses it sure) but Facebook adds it stealthily where no one would know about it if we didn't have a ton of articles on it and its the scary new away.

Guntuku Dileepkumar said...

I use both face book and skype for connecting with my family and friends. I believe Social networking sites like Facebook and SKYPE can enrich social lives for those separated from family and friends by long distances, bringing them together despite the physical separation.

I don’t have facebook account until recently; I opened my account only when I joined social networking research team. Moreover I thought if I don’t have an account how I would experience its real time environment. I am a socialized person when I opened my face book within a week I get connected with more than fifty people. For me face book helped to get reconnected with all my college friends and family relatives whom I did not even see and meet for a longer time. I still remember when I was in Ames, one day I got a message from my friend and he gave his phone number, when I called him surprisingly I came to know he is living in Des Moines. Though we are living in these nearly by towns for the last 4 years we did not come to know until I opened the face book. So, we planned a family get together and now became family friends again after a gap of nearly 10 years.

I am a balanced face book user, however there are potential drawbacks especially kids of younger age who is pending hours looking through pictures, answering their page comments, and chatting with friends on the site’s instant messenger than concentrating on their home work or studies. Some people using face book as a source to spread false rumors, recently when I was in a store to buy mango drink, one of my friends told me not to buy that specific drink. I was surprised and asked why? She told me a face book rumor, she said since we don’t know the actual truth better not to drink it. I was disturbed and upset after looking that false rumor. I personally believe that people should not use networking sites to post false and nasty rumors which make others to disturb.

Another social networking site I use most frequently is SKYPE. I use Skype for both personal and professional purposes. I live far from my family, I connect with my family through phones, emails, despite these communication options I feel SKYPE and its webcams are the best, because nothing can match the feeling of closeness when you see your family and talk to them. Video-chats, such that Skype technology provides, could go a long way in maintaining the family and friendly bond. I do use SKYPE for connecting my other research team. Skype makes us to worry less about cost and converse in a relaxed manner. This is especially important for people living in abroad.

I don’t see much about negative impact of SKYPE, however internet connection issues and poor video steaming makes me quit annoying at times.

Guntuku Dileepkumar said...

Anand , your posting remained me the earlier days of using Yahoo chats. I did use the Yahoo chats a lot when nothing became much popular, but now I hardly use it. I prefer to use either SKYPE or Gmail chats which are having better services and moreover all my friends have accounts in these, so for me it is quite easy to get connect with them.

Sam Shenker said...

I talk about the Social Web of Things

Rather than the actor’s decisions in the video, I found the personification of one’s home to be a fascinating idea. Appliances and objects in the home are suddenly actively participating with the homeowner (Sofa asking to be cleaned, TV/Kitchen knowing plans and backup plans to social events, etcetera). The home as a whole acts as a friend might, trying to cheer you up when somebody bails on plans, but each individual appliance behaves much like a pet might, (microwave wanting attention). A smart home like the one in the video can understand the language we use on social networking by interpreting innuendo.

Technology is no longer a simple medium, the aggregation of different technologies and information allows for the home to become an entity that doesn’t explicitly require instructions but rather possesses enough awareness to operate somewhat independently. I interpreted the timing of the TV turning on to be a reaction of the “Home” to give Dave a choice between spending a comfy evening at home watching his favorite game and talking with a woman who canceled his plans just half an hour earlier, the nonjudgmental home then gives Dave a clear choice between an unhealthy relationship or by all other metrics a pleasant evening at home.

JLTSC574Student said...

I found the “The Social Web of Things” video to be a videographic celebration of isolation and narcissism. Although Ericsson appears to be attempting to provide a vision of the ultimate "bachelor pad meet Facebook", its seems as if David's most supportive and significant relationship is with the artificial intelligence that conducts his home. Jaded by Sophia's snub, David turns to an apparently prerecorded soccer game and ultimately decides not to answer's Sophia's call.

I think what this video does show is a kind of magnification of "interpersonal power" facilitated by technology. As a person who can remember a time before most people even used email, I find it interesting that the rejection and acceptance given over social networks is a potent and real as in the ordinary, analogue world of everyday life.

JLTSC574Student said...

I found iafuelrunner's comments to be interesting. The fact that some people who do not use Facebook and are friends with others who are and would be left out of a social gatherings is telling of how the use or nonuse of technology allows for the inadvertent creation of ingroups and outgroups. The friend who does not use Facebook (ie is a laggard) might perceive themselves as less a member of the group of friends she identifies with. I think a real question that can emerge from this is what to any extent does a social networking technology contribute to or define a group identity? Is the laggard less a part of the group (or worse perceived as an 'other') because she elects not to employ the same social networking technology as her friends?

Bobbi Newman said...

N B - you said

"Besides the time issue, I stay away from blogging or tweeting because I think that I would always be wondering that however benign the post, I might be alienating someone (e.g., a potential employer)"

I have to ask, as long as what you're saying isn't offensive, racist, sexist etc I have to ask would you really want to work for an employer who might be offended about something you shared or said online? Don't me wrong my social media presence is thought out and I am careful about what I do share, but I also think I would not be a good fit in an organization or with a boss who cares that I occasionally tweet about Game of Thrones or that I have opinion on digital literacy issues etc. In large I try to be professional and courtesy but I'm also human and if someone doesn't want to hire me because of that, I'm pretty sure I didn't want to work for him/her anyway :-)

Bobbi Newman said...

I spent most of today at the TEDxDSM event in Des Moines. During TEDx events videos from other TED events are shown along with life speeches I thought this one from Syndey was especially interesting given the one sided approach we're getting from the text book.

Ben Lortz said...

New communication technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype have all had a very positive impact on my life. I have a lot of examples from both my own experiences and from people close to me in which communication technologies have really allowed us to connect to people that we otherwise may not see for years.

I have a large family with five other siblings and all of our lives have taken us far apart from each other. I have three siblings who live far enough away to where I only see them once a year and sometimes not even that. Facebook has allowed us to share photos and chat with each other and by doing this I don’t ever feel disconnected from them, even though we are thousands of miles apart.

Skype and Twitter are also both fantastic new technologies that have allowed people close to me to communicate with their family members. I have a close friend who had her brother go overseas for a job and was gone nearly three years but Skype and Twitter allowed them to communicate nearly every day. My friend and her brother both had iPhones and they would often Skype with each other while she was in-between classes or when her family had an issue and she needed to let him know.

I never really realized the importance of the technology at the time but when you step back and think about it, family members would be basically lost to each other besides an occasional phone call without these technologies. Every technology has its downfalls and negative impacts but I am yet to find any in my life with Facebook and Skype.

Ben Lortz said...

It’s really interesting to see that a lot of people have blogged about Skype and Facebook, yet none of our views on the technologies are exactly the same. Some of us have deleted our Facebooks completely because of the increase in marketing or the lack of privacy, yet others of us are recently new to the technology and are using it to enrich our distant relationships. One aspect of these technologies that I haven’t used is in a professional setting and yet there are a couple blogs about the benefits in this area too and I feel like I could really expand my usage of these technologies in this area.

Anand Tripathi said...

Stuart I could totally understand your frustration of annoying facebook ads and status updates. There was a point I get annoyed too and still get annoyed. But I guess I have decided to live with it.

It's pretty much the same thing as spam emails that inundate your inbox and all your can do is hit delete.

Shaun Kelly said...

I would probably be considered an innovator when it comes to the communication technology of blogging. I started out blogging barely after the term was coined. Back then, the community of people who blogged was very small and I made several friends through the online blogging community that I eventually met and became friends with in meatspace. Though my blogging days and mostly past, I still keep in touch with some of those people.

I've been later to adopt a lot of social media. I barely use Facebook at all. I am moderately heavy Twitter user, and I use Twitter to both interact with people I've been friends with in meatspace as well as to interact with and learn from folks in the User Experience community, which is heavily active on Twitter. That's been a great way to learn about what goes on in the industry and to make valuable connections.

I actually prefer asynchronous modes of communication for virtual communication. I'm not much of a phone guy, probably because I'm not much of a chatter in general. Perhaps Bugeja would say that's because I haven't learned the social skills, but I think it's largely because I'm fairly introverted. Spontaneous conversations (especially with people I'm not close with) I find draining, so I like asynchronous forms because I can communicate when I'm ready and respond when I'm ready. There was a paper about this recently (something along the lines of "On the Internet, No One Knows You're an Introvert.") I don't think Bugeja has yet adequately described what precisely his vision of community is, but I'm pretty sure it's extrovert-biased.

Henry Nav said...

I would offer a generalized observation:

New communication technologies have always significantly impacted interpersonal relationships mostly for the good, in my opinion. With the arrival of each new communication technology, the lives of its adopters have generally been made better. Consider the following communication technologies that have enjoyed adoption throughout history:

written letter
postal service
mobile phone
internet and electronic mail
worldwide web
online chat (text and video)
text messaging
Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites

For each of the above, it is obvious that with the arrival of the new technology, interpersonal relationships was provided with the benefits of faster, more efficient (in terms of time and resources) and wider-reaching tool than what had been in use. In each new technology, human interaction was given a new mode, a new form of execution. Before the very first of these technologies, I would guess that human interaction was carried out in-person, within range of sight and hearing, and in real time. That is, excluding any form of psychic communication which is not in the scope of this type of discussion. Each of the subsequent technologies in the list above has offered enhancements in human interaction thats its predecessors lacked. Such a pattern is simply part of the essence of every new communication technology: it strives to make existing processes more efficient.

The discussion of the negative effects of relatively new communication technologies (e.g., cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc) is probably as heated, if not more, than the corresponding discussion of its positive effects. It seems that for many, the perspective of seeing new communication technologies as the cause of erosion in interpersonal relationships is quite convenient. After all, there seems to be many examples of such negative effects.

But perhaps, seeing new technologies in historical perspective, alongside the older technologies listed above (each of which was, at one time, the new technology), can bring a more accurate view that communication technologies exist mostly for the good of interpersonal relationships. I would further propose that any of the so-described negative effects is not due to the technology itself, but more in its misuse. But that belongs in another discussion.

Shaun Kelly said...

Alicia, I think the positive experience you describe is a great example of the benefit of ambient knowledge you get using social networking. One of the big criticisms you hear about social media is how trivial it is, how we waste our time on the little day to day minutiae. Which, when you look at any given post may be true, when you take all of the those posts and add up them up together, you get a sort of intimacy that you would otherwise only get with someone you see on a day-to-day basis. But now, you can keep with family and friends on Facebook and not feel like you've skipped a beat even if it's been a couple of years since you've seen them face to face.

Henry Nav said...

Like other members of this class, I also felt some annoyance with trivial Facebook status messages from my social contacts. But in line with my earlier posting about, I see that such is not completely unrelated to an annoying comment or useless quip that I might hear in-person. This is just to show that communication technology is not the culprit. A medieval person could have gone through the same type of annoying experience, reading from a letter written on parchment paper with squid ink and sealed with wax.

Josh Solyntjes said...

For me, facebook/myspace/etc have actually helped me reconnect with old friends and even found some new ones. Although, the other aspect is that it really does sort of devalue the true meaning of friend. The majority of my "friends" on facebook I never talk to and probably never even want to. Some people just post the most inane things and seem so boring from them.

You all know the new mothers posting about every single thing their kid does, every stinky diaper, every step they take, etc. Those people almost make you not want to ever have kids. Then you have the obnoxious guys that post play by play of every single sporting event they watch and clutters up your news feeds. Then we all know those other people that post pictures of just words... that gets old really fast.

I think communication has really taken a turn for the worse with technology, especially when you factor in the shorthand that's come from it. People can't type full words or full sentences any more, and it's starting to invade every day communication. I see it in professional emails and IMs at the work place and it really annoys me.

Joshua Jordan said...

In terms of new communication technologies and, particularly, social media, I personally have been very reluctant to even go near it. I do not have a Facebook account, nor have I ever; I was never sucked into the MySpace fad; I do not tweet to the world every aspect of my life, nor will I follow someone else’s irrelevant comments on every aspect of their own life; I do not write contrivances through my own blog that only my mother would ever follow, and even that is questionable; I’m not a member of LinkedIn, so I’m virtually screwed when it comes time to get a job – the one area of new social media that I have engaged with is Google+, particularly because it made posting on the course blog much easier than if I had not, but I must admit that I had fun creating the account.

All that being said, I assure everyone that I am not some crotchety old man and utterly unsociable. I prefer contact with people in-person. If that cannot happen, then the telephone is an acceptable substitute. But, obviously, I will still participate in other forms of communication when it becomes necessary. The main reason I’m such a laggard is not that I don’t understand these new technologies or that I don’t know that they exist; it’s just that newer forms of communication technology can be very invasive in one’s life. I don’t want that – I think it is a product of capitalism, and this is how it naturally progresses. One might notice that Facebook is entirely ad supported – that’s too much of a blend between who I am and the flows of capital.

Another reason, aside from my futile resistance, that I became weary early on of social media is that my aunt tried online dating when it was first getting started, or at least when it first started coming on my radar. I would say this was around 97-98…(?), but my aunt had recently been divorced and had already developed proficient internet skills. I imagine she would be classified as an early adopter of online dating, but the format or the process of online dating still had flaws it needed to iron out. She met a man, whom she became involved with and they started developing a relationship together. After about six months, it came out that the man was actually married – and it wasn’t what I would call cheating either because the wife knew about everything he was doing and fully approved of it. After my aunt found out the real nature of the man, she cut off ties immediately. However, the married couple began a campaign of harassment – going to her house in the middle of the night, calling her house at odd hours; the man even showed up at her work to harass her. Unfortunately for him that was a bad move because he was arrested when he crossed that very fine line. I don’t know the outcome for the married couple, but I know my aunt was able to obtain restraining orders and they finally stopped.

So, a long read, but a good example of the negative aspects of new communication technologies and social media – essentially, there are a lot of psychopaths in the world and one can easily expose themselves to a serious amount of psychopathology…

Joshua Jordan said...

Henry Nav said… "New communication technologies have always significantly impacted interpersonal relationships mostly for the good, in my opinion. With the arrival of each new communication technology, the lives of its adopters have generally been made better. Consider the following communication technologies that have enjoyed adoption throughout history: [+list]”

I would contend with these statements and some items on that your list depending on how committed you are to “impacted… mostly for the good.” For example, text messaging has become an epidemic in society, actually causing the deaths of several human beings – and, depending on your ethical stance, a technology causally related to, perhaps, one human death might make it far too negative (a Kantian approach, for example, might say this technology is not a benefit for society).

It seems all the items can be viewed in the negative – another is the cellular phone. It makes it so that I can be contacted no matter where I’m at (barring AT&T), but maybe I don’t want to be contacted. Or, further, just like text messaging, we can link fatalities to the use of cell phones while driving or operating machinery.

Even something like the written letter or the postal service can be viewed in the negative depending on perspective. From a Marxian perspective, these basic technologies served to speed up production, leading to greater profits and, therefore, greater exploitation of the workers (Chaplin’s Modern Times is all about this, for a film example). It depends largely on the values that one personally holds and the values that society holds if the technology is mostly for the good it seems.

Bobbi Newman said...
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Bobbi Newman said...

Joshua you said “… I am not some crotchety old man and utterly unsociable”
You may not be crotchety but the tone and terminology you have used to describe the online activities that many of the class, including me, have described participation in and positive aspects from is insulting and rude. While you prefer not to use these technologies it is important to remember that not everyone is like you or has the same life or goals and that is IS perfectly acceptable to others to make choices you have not and be respectful.

I DO have a Facebook account it is an important tie to friends and family spread all over the country and the world (and I had MySpace before that) I DO tweet, not every aspect of my life but professional commentary and resources that over 7,000 people seem to find useful even if you do not. I DO write a blog. I assure my mother doesn’t read it but over 3,000 people subscribe to the RSS feed (never mind those who follow on Twitter or Facebook)

As to the story about your aunt that is truly horrify and I completely sympathize with her. Let me tell how you how I met my TWO stalkers. Yep two, both instances required police involvement and happened about 15 year apart. One of them was a coworker who and got my home number from a friend who thought he seemed like a nice guy (my home number was listed so he could have looked it up just as easily, speaking of privacy it shocks me that people would list their home address in a public book) The second man also discovered me in “meat space” or not online. This man made my life a living hell. But he never contacted me virtually.
Because of these two instances my decisions to be online professional, to share any information, was carefully thought out.

Joshua Jordan said...

Bobbi Newman said..."'Joshua you said '… I am not some crotchety old man and utterly unsociable”
You may not be crotchety but the tone and terminology you have used to describe the online activities that many of the class, including me, have described participation in and positive aspects from is insulting and rude. While you prefer not to use these technologies it is important to remember that not everyone is like you or has the same life or goals and that is IS perfectly acceptable to others to make choices you have not and be respectful."

Holy Smokes! I think you may have missed what I was trying to express & the intended tone. I'm not trying to insult anyone; I was just describing my lack of participation in social media... If anything, I take shots at my own self & not anyone here... (the twitter thing I can see the interpretation, but lets be honest, the service is utterly ridiculous anyway). But, overall, the last sentence of the first paragraph of the post of mine you are referencing, I think, was quite positive to a laggard such as myself.

Also, I give explanation in my second paragraph why I choose to be a laggard. I don't want to let that mixture of my identity & capital (or Capital as Marx would say) to happen - I think it's a dangerous path. While you or anyone else in the class may have entirely embraced all social media, including twitter, that is entirely your right and their right as well. I apologize if a self-deprecating tone was easily interpreted as targeting others, but that was not my intention at all.

I'm glad to see you are finding the enthusiasm & self-fulfillment from social media that I cannot - you certainly have developed some impressive numbers & should feel great accomplishment. Might I ask why your mother doesn't read your blog though?

Bobbi Newman said...

My mother doesn't read my blog because she's not my intended audience. It is a blog about library issues and she is not a librarian. Don't worry it didn't stop her from framing the article I was quoted in in the New York Times or bragging about me :-)

And you still managed to refer to Twitter as "ridiculous" in your clarification. Word choice matters.

Joshua Jordan said...

...................It was a joke - interpretation matters too...

Not everything need be interpreted with hostility in mind. Again, I'm not attacking anyone or any social media - please presuppose that from all following posts from me and, I assume, everyone else in the class. Humor will be excluded from this post so no one feels threatened.