Social Media Overload?

By Rachel Schwarz

Here at Speak For Yourself, we recently shared that the proper AP style abbreviation for electronic mail is now email, not e-mail. This got me thinking about what other changes have happened in our technology.

Currently I am investigating HootSuite and TweetDeck. These are both social media options that allow multiple social networking sites to be accessed from one website or homepage. In trying to grasp Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., these sites are supposed to make things easier.

So, are combined social networking sites actually making things easier or is adding a compacted website for these media just an excuse for one more username and way to track your friends? In the next few blogs, I will delve a bit deeper into what these sites are all about, what they set out to do, and whether or not they’re actually accomplishing their mission.

If YOU have any suggestions or questions about sites that I should investigate, be sure to comment here!

Is X-BOX “Dis-Kinecting” People?

When Nintendo launched the Wii, people were shocked at the gaming system’s ability to wirelessly sense the controller. It seemed as though Nintendo had sealed its fate as the “Apple” of video games. They were the first to come out with such revolutionary technology, and based on the dominant market share that the iPhone has, it only made sense to believe that Wii would take over the same way. However, Nintendo lacked the user-friendly aspect that Apple has, and they underestimated how far technology could really go.

Recently, X-BOX released Kinect, a gaming system where your body is the controller. X-BOX fans, largely teenagers and young 20-somethings, were not inclined to switch to a Wii and lose their access to games like Call of Duty, so many of these gamers were excited about this system as an addition to their X-BOX instead of as a replacement.

This technological accomplishment, while amazing, takes me back to a concern that I’ve discussed before. What motivation is left for anyone to leave the house to exercise or interact with others beyond using a headset if all of our communication can occur from the comfort of our couch?

The last twenty years have seen an exponential increase in technology, which is certainly admirable and inspiring. However, where does it end? Computer chips in our brains don’t sound as crazy as they used to. Three-dimensional televisions are currently available to the general public. Televisions, phones, and computers have been joined together in ways that were previously unimaginable. I can understand that technology advancing this quickly is something that I should be embraced and appreciated, but I am concerned about where it ends. Let’s not lose ourselves at the expense of feeling “Kinect-ed”.

Communication: Too Easy to be Effective?

 

By Rachel Schwarz

Last week, I wrote about how technology has made us lazy communicators. We send a quick e-mail or make a status update on Facebook to clue others in about what’s going on in our lives. Technology has taken much of the hassle out of communication. What I’m concerned with on a larger scale is this: does the ease of keeping in touch stop us from doing the real work?

When I was in junior high, my best friend from camp and I would write each other letters (sent via snail mail) and call each other from our home phones. We’d spend hours catching up on every detail of our lives and hated saying goodbye knowing it would be at least a few days before we could speak again because of the long distance charges.

Those were the glory days of keeping in touch. Even though that makes me sound like a Baby Boomer, I’m part of the “Millenials”! Things aren’t so intimate anymore. I’ve been asked out on dates through text, located friends out at night because of Twitter, and gone weeks without actually hearing a friend’s voice because of a Facebook message thread that sufficed while we were busy.

I fear that these disconnected ways of communication are detrimental to developing our interpersonal skills: talking on the phone, meeting new people in real world settings, and keeping in touch with long-distance friends with an effort that shows dedication to the friendship, and not to a text message plan. The real people in our lives are too important to be reduced to names in an address book.

Disconnected in our Connected World

By Rachel Schwarz

The ability of Facebook and text messaging to keep us in touch with each other faster than ever before is impressive in its own right. However, I am concerned that with these technological tools at our fingertips, it’s also easier to sit on a couch and interact with people in cyberspace instead of in human-to-human situations. Tone, emotion, and intention don’t translate the same way over the Internet, and it’s disconcerting to wonder how this decreasing need for human interaction is negatively affecting the communication skills of younger generations. And I’m only in my early twenties!

When I was in high school, we would pick up our phones and call each other in order to plan our night. Now, teenagers simply send out a mass text, meet up, and then only spend half the time paying attention to their real-life surroundings because they’re too busy texting and facebooking others instead of getting involved in what’s happening around them.

No matter how good the video quality is on the iPhone 4, or how fast Twitter can document the trending topics, there is no replacement for good, old-fashioned human contact. We’ve become slaves to our technologies, and it’s become commonplace to leave our cell phones on the table during meals, respond to work e-mails at 11pm, and be up-to-date on the latest celebrity gossip because ‘everyone’s been tweeting about it’.

I propose that it’s time we re-evaluate the necessity of our social outlets. Get rid of them? Absolutely not. Remember that there’s more to life than a 17-inch computer screen and a text message inbox? Yes. Go grab dinner with a group of friends tonight, because there’s no substitute for real life.

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