Social Media, yea or nay?

According to Queen Rania of Jordan, “Social media are a catalyst for the advancement of everyone’s rights. It’s where we’re reminded that we’re all human and all equal. It’s where people can find and fight for a cause, global or local, popular or specialized, even when there are hundreds of miles between them.” Social media plays an important role in my life. I use it to keep connected with my friends and families that are far away. I use Snapchat and Facebook every day. Not only are they good for, keeping in touch, but they are good for passing the time. Whenever I’m bored I look at peoples post on Facebook, or I watch their stories on Snapchat. Through Facebook, I have been able to talk to relatives I never have even met. I have found out that I have a lot in common with them through their posts. On the other hand, I still try to resist some social media sites. For example, I still don’t have a Twitter because I try to stay away from the gossip of the world. I also didn’t have an Instagram until a few months ago. I only got one because my friend made it for me. I barely use it. I do plan to one day get a Twitter account one day, because I have recently found out how useful it actually could be. It lets you know when you favorite stores are having sells, for example. Social media is a great tool for communication, but if used wrong it can cause much harm. I don’t believe that we can ensure that social media will serve as a force that improves interpersonal human communications. At the same time I don’t believe that social media is something that is shallow or used to harm people. Social media/ the internet are an incorporeal thing and do not emote. We as individuals chose how we use social media for good or bad. In other words, social media isn’t bad or good it all depends on the person using it.

Looking back over this course I’ve learned a lot of new things, but the one thing that sticks out for me was the displacement theory.  This theory states that “we as individuals only have so much time in our lives that we can communicate. Meaning that participation in one communication domain takes away from others, when a new communication technology is introduced then we have less time for other communication activities.” This theory is proves to be true in many aspects of technology. For instance in the case of social media, we have moved through many different social networks. For example before Facebook was big we had Myspace. Once people started using Facebook more they stopped using Myspace as much. Now Myspace is virtually obsolete unless you are a musically talented person. The impact of communication technologies in my life has made things easier, because in order to for a technology to be successful it has to be as easy as or easier than then its predecessor. To learn more about the progression and of social media I have linked an article about the evolution of social media.

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Unplugged

I could never really relate to the phrase ‘hell on earth’ until this past Thursday. For a class assignment my professor challenged our class to unplug from the world for a day or half a day. At first I thought this task wasn’t even a challenge. I convinced myself that I could go a full day without the internet or my cellphone as easy as I could blink- I was wrong. The night before I decided to do the assignment I made a plan as to how I could get through this task as easy as possible.

My plan: Wakeup by 11:00am; go to class at 2:00pm; go out with a friend to Hilltop Tavern (an establishment where you eat, drink, and play board games); and then end the night watching movies. Seems like a really solid plan right- WRONG!

What actually happened: With my phone on I didn’t have an alarm to wake me up, and without any other clocks in my apartment I wasn’t sure what time I woke up. Since I decided I didn’t want to be late for class I decided to just get dressed and go to school (If I was early I could just go to the library or grab some food on campus). Usually I check my weather app before I get dressed, but since that would require my cell/ internet I couldn’t. So I decided to check the weather the good old fashion way by sticking my hand out the door- hmm nice and sunny out. When I started my car I noticed the time- 12:20pm. At this point I’m thinking ok not doing so bad, just a little behind schedule. I get school and go to the library to do homework and possibly get a head. Well unfortunately I forgot that I need a computer, as in the internet, to do every single assignment. I now had about a hr. and half to blow before class, which doesn’t seem like that long until you are literally just watching the clock on the wall. Finally it was time to go to class- I’ve never been more excited for class. I arrived in class and I sat, and I sat, and I sat. after 20 minutes of sitting in a virtually empty room with 2 other students, one girl said she had just checked her email and “the professor sent out an email saying class was cancelled.” In this moment I felt like someone in the universe could be playing a joke on me. I now was on the way to my sister’s place to see if she wanted to go to Hilltop tavern with me. I banged and banged on her door but there was no answer, so I drove over to my friend Travis’s place. I knocked on the door and he answered the door in his boxers. He agreed to go with me, but he questioned, “Why didn’t you call me first so I could get ready.” Ugh I wish I could of used my cell, it would of saved me gas of driving to my sister’s and then to his. We arrived at Hilltop tavern at 4:30pm, but we had to wait for it to open at 5:00pm. While waiting for it to open, it started to rain. There I was caught in the rain with flip flops and shorts on with no umberella. If only I had some type of device that could predict the weather- oh wait, I do but I couldn’t use it! When it opened we played 3 hrs of boardgames, from Monopoly to Clue and even Candyland. I’m not going to lie I really enjoyed myself and didn’t even think about my phone the whole time. I got home and turned my cellphone on and it was 8:50pm. I had a flood of unanswered texts and my email had 67 unread messages (even though a lot were junk mail).

This experience was eye opening! In a way this experience was good and bad. In relation to reading the articles “YOUR SUMMER VACATION UNPLUGGED: IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE” by John T. Peters and “Turn Off the Phone (and the Tension)” by Jenna Wortham, I have come to conclusion that we relied far too much on technology, but without it we are at a disadvantage from the rest of the world. For instance, in “YOUR SUMMER VACATION UNPLUGGED: IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE”, the author says, “[his] kids’ image of [him]… [is him] always looking at some device.” Not being on my cellphone I noticed that even people at out in big groups of people were all on their phones and not really paying attention to one another. What’s the point of going out with others if you are just going to exclude yourself anyways? Another example that relates to my experience coincides with “Turn off the Phone (and the Tension)”. Jenna Wortham brings about a good point when she exclaims that, “for many people, smartphones and social networks have become lifelines — appendages that they are rarely without. As such, they can sway our moods, decisions and feelings.” Being without my phone I noticed that I kept having micro anxiety attacks because I kept looking for my cell phone and couldn’t find it- forgetting that I purposely left it at home. I’m so use to having my phone permanently attached to my hand that it doesn’t feel right not having by me at all times. Another way I felt was what Ms. Wortham referred to as ‘FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.”’ This also caused me anxiety, I felt like I was missing out on everything, even though nothing was happening because it was a school night. Neither the less I wanted to be reassured nothing was happening. A good reason for not having my cell/ internet would be because of “Joy of Missing Out or JOMO (Wortham). Sometimes it’s good to just relax. It is hard to relax if you are constantly skimming your cell, or Facebook, or Twitter wondering what everyone else is doing. It is always better to take some me time to recuperate your mind and body. I have nattached an article that will help you embrace ‘JOMO.’ Hopefully this will be a guide to help you unplug too!