After reading “The Shallows”, our topic of discussion in Media Theory class has turned to how technology has impacted our lives. A majority of the talk was negative. While I can’t argue that technology has become completely intertwined with our lives, I’m not sure that is an entirely bad thing. Of course there are some problems, such as teenagers who spend more time looking at their phones than the people they are with, but complaining with no solution will do our culture no good.
Some of the comments in class were that “technology has completely taken over our lives”, or because of social media “we are losing real connections with people.” I have a friend, Becky Murdy, who is extremely passionate about social media. She calls herself a “social media enthusiast”. I was pretty confident she would have some comments about our class discussion, so I tweeted at her about it (ironic that I used social media to discuss my disagreement with what people say are the problems of social media?). I told her some of the comments being made, and here was her response:
You have to admit she’s right. There were plenty of negative reactions when we first got the telephone, including complaints about a loss of real connection with people. But imagine living without telephones now, I bet you have no interest in that, right? I can understand the loss of connection arguments if phones, Twitter, Facebook, etc are used in place of any human contact. But, what about the gain of connection? Through Facebook, I keep in touch with friends who live in other places that I otherwise wouldn’t see. Through Twitter, I’ve made connections with people I otherwise wouldn’t know at all. I’ve been able to network with a huge group of people who have similar interests as me, and work in the career field I’m pursuing. Not to mention, it was through Twitter that I was connected to a friend of a friend who could mentor me in sports broadcasting, and is now more than a mentor, but my best friend. There is a place for criticism of the negatives, but we must also embrace the positives. Social media has brought work connections that will be invaluable for my job search, plus a best friend. It’s probably a different experience for everyone, depending on how you use social media, but for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.