Tough Technology Teachings

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Carrie Morgan, who specializes in digital PR – combining traditional public relations with content marketing and social media, wrote an article about apps creating negative social proofs. By definition social proofs, also known as informational social influence, is the influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. In other words, people are wired to learn from the actions of others, and this can be a huge driver of consumer behavior. Consider the social proof of a line of people standing behind a velvet rope, waiting to get into a night club. The clubs could let people in faster, but then there wouldn’t be a line. The line makes most people walking by want to find out what’s worth the wait. It breeds interest. There’s a lot of ways that this could be a good thing but Morgan expresses her concern that certain apps, apps like Twitters’ JustUnfollow app where the user sees who follows or unfollows them and post statuses about it, may be unintentionally damaging. Since these apps are usually automatically generated URLs they may make inappropriate changes to your tweets or direct messages. How totally sucky would that be to see? Hey, I just followed you and you want to thank me by saying you gained three followers and lost ten? It’s very impersonal and it would make me unfollow you. Generated apps like these make people out to be numbers and not friends.

The last thing we need is SOCIAL sites to be unsocial. Especially since we are a swiftly moving technologically advancing world where we have the ability to form and keep relationships with the help of technology. I personally don’t have a phone so I use Facebook like its my own cell. It keeps me in touch with everyone I care to, even those who I haven’t seen in years because of distance. I would hate to think that one day I won’t be seen as a friend but a number for some misguided individual who needs to see how many people they can get to “like them”.  I guess that’s one of the issues I have with social networking, it is just that networking, you have people out there trying to get numbers as a point to prove and what’s being accepted shouldn’t. Morgan spoke about how we seem to conform to the whole, “if she’s doing it I want to do it too” mentality.

Like dominoes falling once you tap that very first one, most people follow the actions of the majority – an unstoppable tide of chain reaction.

-Carrie Morgan

I found it a very clever choice to use the examples of dominoes for this effect also both because it’s unstoppable and because it’s destructive. Once you knock down dominoes you have to take the time to rebuild all that you once had. Have you ever lost someone or something because it didn’t fit in with the current “in” of socially acceptable?

Morgan, Carrie. “Is Your Twitter App Creating Negative Social Proof?” A Social Media Today Community. Social Media Today, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/carriemorgan/1963066/your-twitter-app-creating-negative-social-proof&gt;.

Thanksgiving Special

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So in honor of our holiday coming up this week I want to start by saying a big thank you to my readers! This is not going to be like the other blogs because this right here is a special edition, this post is about ten things to give thanks for this season.

Ten: SOCIAL MEDIA

Without social media I might just have a life, so thank goodness social media keeps me indoors and out of real life interactions with people!

Nine: NOT BEING A TURKEY

Because let’s face it, I’d rather not be ignored most of the year and the one day of the year you remember me it’s to kill me and stuff me with breadcrumbs.

Eight: NOT BEING A CHICKEN

I’ve done a lot of adventurous things this year–found a boyfriend, went on random hikes with virtual strangers, cliff-diving off of waterfalls, tried my sisters cooking, kept a boyfriend, and went to counseling– see? I’ve been very busy indeed, definitely not chicken.

Seven: WENT ON A DATE

Though to be totally honest I messed that up in only a way I know how. So apparently you don’t invite small children to the movies when it’s supposed to be “couple time” go figure.

Six: ALL MY CHICKS

I have THE best friends #MyFriendsAreBetterThanYours. And without them I wouldn’t have had such a successful time learning how to procrastinate being successful.

Five: ALL MY GUYS

Because honestly they’d be jealous that I only wrote six for chicks, without thinking of making five guys—got to thank Kings Cup for that one.

Four: FAMILY

How else am I to know what not to be when I grow up.

Three: ME

In case you didn’t know I’m pretty freaking awesome. I’m moderately healthy—I’m only sick like half the month each month—I’m smart, I like cartoons, books and dancing; total winner.

Two: YOU

My beloved readers you get your very own number because without you well, I’d be writing to myself now wouldn’t I? And while I do talk to myself I think that writing to myself is a level of crazy I’m not ready to participate in quite yet.

And my number one reason to be thankful for this year: MY MOM

While she doesn’t seem to have everything together this year she hasn’t stopped trying yet.

So go out, stuff your selves and tell me what you’re thankful this year!

Sources:

Blake. “Top 26 (funny) Things You Are Thankful for This Thanksgiving.” 1023 Blake FM. N.p., 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Steve. “Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For.” TheBigRocks of Change RSS2. N.p., 24 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Telling Transformation Texting vs. Talking

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Making people reachable is what technology has been created to do, but I wonder if it has done the complete opposite. In a society that relies heavily on an array of devices used to communicate, has the art of conversation been lost?

I remember once I wrote a letter to someone and they actually cried, worried I wondered if I did something wrong, but they were just so happy to get a hand written letter that they were overwhelmed. Now- what kind of world do we live in where we get teary eyed over hand written letters? This one; cause not so far after a friend of mine wrote me a letter and it made me so happy that I still have it. At times I wonder what caused us to get to this point….and in a conversation with another friend I realize it’s because of technology. We are so technologically advanced that we don’t even have to be in the same room, state, or country or even speak to have conversations with people. How crazy is that? Right now I could be talking to someone from Japan from the comfort of my own room in America, mind blowing isn’t it?

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However, I fear the amazing technological advances that allow us these privileges also deter us. Most conversations are now held in text messages. Jeffrey Kluger, senior writer at TIME Magazine and author of several books on science topics, says, “The number of text messages sent monthly in the U.S. exploded from 14 billion in 2000 to 188 billion in 2010, according to a Pew Institute survey. Americans ages 18-29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.”  So what’s happening to our interpersonal communication? It’s dying. More and more young adults prefer texting to having real conversations and it’s becoming a “skill” being able to talk on the phone. “It is an art that’s becoming as valuable as good writing,” says Janet Sternberg, a professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York who is also a linguist. Still, many experts say the most successful communicators will, of course, have the ability to do both, talk or text, and know the most appropriate times to use those skills. And they fear that more of us are losing our ability to have – or at least are avoiding – the traditional face-to-face conversations that are vital in the workplace and personal relationships.text-messages-on-screen

So which do you prefer? Are you a big texter? Or do you still manage to speak on the phone? Where do you think that this alarming statistic is going to lead? Personally I wonder what new form of communication we’re going to create next. Will we be able to communicate mentally? How scary would that be?

Citations

Gentilviso, Chris. “Text Messaging: Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 03 June 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

 Kluger, Jeffrey. “We Never Talk Anymore: The Problem with Text Messaging.” Time. Time, 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Rising Unrest

Civil disobedience has had a long history, most known by few, highlighted by individuals and under-appreciated by many. When we speak about civil disobedience we look to the greats: Henry Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and a personal favorite, Susan B. Anthony. It is from these people that we learned that we can’t just sit by and watch injustice befall us. I remember hearing once that, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” and it lights a fire within me. Just what am I doing with my life if I just let anything happen to anyone?

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See, what I learned was people are afraid to rebel. We have been taught since the beginning that we are to follow directions and not question why. Honestly, I was never that kid. I asked questions until my questions were questions of my questions. I have always been a curious kid, bothersome for many, but, I have always wanted to know why and how the world works. I’m learning that there’s a lot sustaining the revolution of our little planet. Not all of it good. And so that’s why we have civil disobedience; it’s to counter act the bad showing people there’s still some good.

Thoreau, like me believed that change really begins in our communities and neighborhoods, not in some far-off place. If we really want to improve the country we each have to start locally. This is why I believe today there is such a rise of social entrepreneurs and service organizations focused locally on helping one person, one family, and one neighborhood at a time. One person can make a difference just look at where African Americans would be if it wasn’t for Martin Luther King Jr., or women if not for Susan B. Anthony. I would truly hate to imagine a world without the advantages they fought so hard for me to enjoy.  I believe it’s our duty to pass on the blessing. They paved road so we may build houses and now it’s our turn to create something for the next generation.

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Laws created upsetting people’s lives should be abolished. Slowly, we are getting homosexuals rights to be married, which is fantastic but, I feel isn’t enough. Did you know that in some states a woman or man who comes out to their partner may very well lose their children from that union? Yes sir, I knew a woman once who was married in the south, she had three children, and one day she decided to come out to her husband. Then he said as a lesbian she should not have the right to raise children and when he took her to court he actually won. Amazing right? Horrifying. It’s insane to think that we live in this type of world where that’s okay. She started a petition to fight that law in hopes that one day she’ll be able to get her kids back.  I personally think that homosexual parents shouldn’t be a problem, what are you really scared of? Most people claim that they don’t want the children to turn out like the parents. So, because of these homophobic ideals children lose out on loving parents. My question is: didn’t it take straight parents to create the homosexual children?

   In the case of Edward Snowden (who now has, in Russia, the Sam Adams award for integrity in intelligence) I wonder what you think? Civil disobedience has always been a journey to give power back to the individual and that the small acts of a few people can actually move things forward, even in the face of huge organizations and forces we seem to not control; was what he did really all that wrong? There are lots of things that are being kept from us for our safety but I think it’s hurting us more not knowing. They craft these stories to prevent outbreaks of national panic but forget that power comes from knowing. For example, they created these drills after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in which one was to go out in the hall, put their hands over their heads in a balled up position.  Personally I don’t think hiding in a hall is going to save me from a nuclear bomb. I’d rather know realistic things I can do instead of being told lies to make me feel better.

What would you say needs a great act of civil disobedience?

Social Media & Communication

Recently I had posted a comment on a blog, a simple comment, nothing vulgar, and because my comment incited crude responses, my comment was removed. This then made me wonder about how many others have had their comments removed –for whatever reasons- and how this impacts both my freedom of speech and the conversation. If every negative comment about an artist was removed from a post, do you really have a realistic post conversation? Are you really helping the artist by censoring real responses? Either way, it made me think about how censoring social media effects conversations.

Jonathan Franzen, an author who writes for The Guardian who despairs at society’s insatiable techonoconsumerism, said that, “we can’t face real problems,” he continues to say that, “what we do agree to do [instead of fixing our problems] is deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies…” (Franzen 1). His whole article was based off the writing of Karl Kraus, an Austrian satirist known for his aphorisms and intricately coded style of writing, who felt that we don’t use our brains that god blessed us with. Franzen later mentions that we become so dependent on technology that we can’t even have proper conversations anymore. In response Caroline Bankoff, a writer for Vulture, trolls him claiming that such is life now, we are a society which communicates digitally (Bankoff 1).

So, that brings me back to my original question: how does censoring social media effect conversations? Kirkpatrick Sale, an author, historian and Luddite who took a sledgehammer to his personal computer, feels that, “technology dehumanizes society by forcing people to interact less with each other” (Luddites 1). Luddites also feel that the governments and other powerful organizations are using technology to control people by influencing their decisions. “Such restrictions on freedom will become pronounced as technology allows institutions to gain access to important information about individuals…the vast majority of policy makers, meanwhile reject such arguments” (Luddites 1). This statement caught my attention because of my deleted comment. How are other readers of the blog influenced by the censored blog, do they decided that they like the artist because all they see is positive comments? Or will they have their own unbiased opinion.

While I still haven’t decided on if censoring real responses or the effects that come from censoring are good or bad for users I’m curious about what you think. Do you think that we’ve become so dependent on social media that we don’t utilize skills that Franzen and Kraus value? That we are becoming parrots of the media like the Luddites think, or are we taking things too seriously as Bankoff feels Franzen is?