Who and What Are at Stake?

Modern technological communication is one of the most controversial topics amongst various professionals in the scientific field as well as within the business world and a substantial amount of effort must be made in order to find the fine line between too involved and not enough.

To start, let us examine the pros and cons with technological communication. As I touched on in my previous blog post, modern day devices allow for us to communicate with people across the globe instantaneously. With that ability, we are able to share information and news at light speed, able to educate the world about any given thing at any given moment. Yet, sometimes we become too attached to this technology. We become social media addicts, constantly glued to our screens letting the world go by without noticing a single thing. That which made us human in our communication is slowly disappearing as we lose the barriers that were once in place to ensure that we never spoke out of turn and gave each other the respect we deserve. It is quite clear that given the two possibilities of the potential of technology, there would certainly be a split amongst the “stakeholders” in question, or the people who are involved in either side of the argument.

Many businesses such as Facebook and Twitter would certainly prefer that we continue to become more and more engrossed with their services, using their programs to send messages and let everyone know what we are doing. They invest millions of dollars creating new ideas to keep their user base plugged into their devices to get more and more out of them without caring for the potential harm that they may be doing to them. In an article by Jean Twenge(2013) on the New York Times entitled, “Social Media is a Narcissism Enabler,” researchers have begun to find that those of us who tend to spend more time on their social media accounts tend to behave in a more narcissistic fashion, causing them to behave inappropriately in public and altering their interactions with the people around them. Yet despite the negative effect that these websites have on the minds of the masses, companies like Facebook and Twitter continue to try and brainwash their consumers into lessening their grip on reality so they can better take a hold of their consciousness.

As for those who are more concerned with the effects that technological communication has on them and their peers, they are often labeled as Luddites or those who shun technology. Yet many of these individuals are simply mothers and fathers who are concerned as their child becomes increasingly distant and more attached to their cellular devices. Researchers at institutes such as Harvard and Cambridge are researching the effects that are coming from this prolonged usage of technology and its impact on our communication. In an article on Journalists Resource(2013) titled, “Multitasking, Social Media and Distraction: Research Review,” the author examines various studies from credible institutions that have found the detrimental effects of communication on our friends and family and how it is also making us less efficient and more liable to waste time. Stanford’s research went so far as to say that the phone becomes an extension of one’s own brain creating something that people become depended on for a healthy mental state. The average consumer is incredibly concerned with what is becoming of all of us, and so they too have a stake in

Ultimately, the battle between large businesses and conglomerates and the consumers and researcher will decide which direction technological communication will take us. Will we succumb to the will of Facebook and become mindless drones who spend every waking moment obsessing over social media? Or will we break free and become the heralds of a Golden Age of communication?

Who and What Are at Stake?

An Introduction to Your Tech

Blog Post 1

What do you do when you’re sitting a restaurant with your friends, having a good time and making general merriment when all of a sudden one of your friends pulls out their phone and just begins to type and stare at it for a solid minute? Are you irritated, or do you not care, or do you not even notice? How you respond to that situation says a lot about the nature of the relationship you have with not only that person, but of the relationship you have with your technology. In our modern society, you would be hard pressed to find someone who did not have some form of cellular device or computer which makes it all the more important that we talk about issues these new strange gadgets have on our communication with the world around us. Is technology helpful because we can talk to anyone in the world at any time or are we slowly reducing our real human contact and making true human connection impossible? Those are the questions that I hope to address in my Blog Series.

Friends using phones
Image from http://www.coetail.com/rallen/2014/09/11/hello-world/

Today, a large percentage of American citizens own a cell phone regardless of their socioeconomic background. Without one, you are left behind in a world that is racing ahead and communicating at seemingly light speeds. Yet, how does this change the way that we as a society communicate with one another on a day to day basis? Many people can relate of how they and their friends use shortened words or slang to send text messages, and some studies have even shown that some people have lowered inhibitions when speaking through instant messaging as opposed to face to face.

troll
Image from http://wpmu.mah.se/nmict151group2/2015/03/13/new-media-activism-and-racist-internet-trolls/

What does this all mean? Ultimately, what it means is that we need to begin to examine the way technology changes us. We have to observe what we are now capable of and what we are becoming when we are given the power to communicate with someone without seeing their face from across an ocean. And we also have to begin to look at the psychological impact that our computers and phones and other devices have on us.

I know that for me within my own family, I see that my younger sister is increasingly attached to her phone and even begins to panic when her phone is not readily available to her. This matter hits me personally, and I hope to be able to find the root cause for all of this. In an article on the Newsweek website by Zoe Schlanger (2015), many people were unable to perform basic cognitive tests at their best when they had their phones taken away from them. The researchers went on to say that for these people their iPhones had become extensions of themselves and that without them, “[Subjects] also reported higher levels of anxiety and feeling higher levels of ‘unpleasantness’…”

I would argue that as a result of our new gadgets, the world is much smarter and faster than ever before. In an article on the TechTank blog by the Brookings Institute, research showed that by the end of 2014, there would be more connected devices than there were people in the world, and we are now already two months into 2015. We can reach further than we ever could before, sharing knowledge to everyone who has access to even a simple dial-up connection. Books can now be condensed into tiny pieces of data that we can store on a handheld device which has enough storage to hold all the books in a library. Our potential for sharing information is limitless as we enter this new age of information and it is our duty to push these limits now so we can create an entirely interconnected world.

Image from http://factor-tech.com/connected-world/1217-the-internet-in-2025-experts-share-their-thoughts/
Image from http://factor-tech.com/connected-world/1217-the-internet-in-2025-experts-share-their-thoughts/

Through my subsequent blog posts, I hope to educate not only those who are confused by technology today, but also by people who are well versed with their devices who want to know more about their new potential, as well as the pitfalls that they may come across in the years to come. What I will be talking about in these posts is something that is happening here and now, and needs to be discussed.

An Introduction to Your Tech