Monday, January 28, 2008

Final thought... kinda

So this will be our second to last post for the month. For those who don’t know Brian and I started writing this blog for a class that we were taking. This doesn’t mean that the blog will cease for all three of you who probably read it but it does mean that the blog will slow down for a little while. Since we are both full-time college students our work will begin to pick up once again but we will try to continue posting at least once a week.

The point of this blog was and is to find out how media affects our social lives as well as our economy. When we first started writing we used Laura Pappano’s book “The Connection Gap” to help put our ideas in perspective. Both Brian and I being the huge electronics consumers that we are, we did not agree entirely with what this author had to say. Pappano’s main belief as I understood it is that we as human beings have to cherish the small connections that we share with people. She says that even if we don’t recognize it, these small connections with strangers, this is what makes up the human experience. She argues that in our day in age of multi tasking that technology seeks to eradicate these loose connections that we have with people.

What I have tried to argue throughout all of my own post is that with all the new technology that we have to let go of this rigid understanding of what social connections are and start a new definition. I believe that we can still have meaningful connections with people in our technological society without sacrificing human connection. I don’t think people really value the connections that we have with the cashier at the local grocery store or the toll booth clerk. The time spent with those people is so miniscule that it pales in the time spent with more meaningful individuals for it to have an affect on us. Instead I believe that technology allows us to expedite our time so that we can spend more of it with our loved ones.

I do believe that along with technology also comes our fair share of problems, like any social shift there will be trials and errors before people get it right. We have to learn how not to immerse ourselves entirely in technology to the point where we cannot separate reality from technology. This seems to be the main issue faced in my previous post about deaths caused by videogames as well as Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. In these cases people used gaming as a substitute for real life experience. This is a danger to social connections because instead of trying to coincide with technology they are using technology as a real world experience. When one does this and does not live the real world experience it creates issues for that individual and they no longer know how to live or behave in the real world.

The question that remains is whether the scale of real world versus technology is balanced or not? Can we as people who have learned to survive in a technological society still survive without technology? Both Brian and I have discussed how we just use technology and media as an extension of ourselves and it is a tool to accomplish what would take us longer than usual under our own devices. We want to test this to see if this is actually the case. That is why starting tonight at midnight we will take ourselves off the grid and disconnect from the media for a period 24 hours. This may not seem a long time for most but for Brian and I this is an eternity.

Both Brian and I honestly don’t know what the outcome will be. We are not sure if we’ll be able to make it 24 hours with no TV, music, internet, or any kind of media (we are allowing books just for the sake of keeping our sanity). We are both in a strange predicament because we happen to also be in rural Maine so it is not like we can just go out to a Starbucks and spend the whole day there. To be honest, I am dreading this experiment. The way that I usually spend my day is by waking up, putting on some light jazz, and check my email. As of recently I have substituted the light jazz with episodes of South Park but it is pretty much the same thing. I even go to bed at night with the TV on just so I can fall asleep.

Before we even begin the experiment I had to spend all day and yesterday immersing myself in the media and getting work done just so I don’t fall behind and miss out while I’m involved in our experiment. What I predict will happen is that Brian and I will spend all day tomorrow getting chores done around our place as well as visiting friends and talking with them. I’ll probably also read a book that I’ve been neglecting to pass the time. All and all though I have to say that I will fail at this experiment. For those who know Maine, you know that if you don’t ski then there is nothing to do. Well, I don’t ski so I really don’t know how to spend my time here. It should be interesting to see whether Brian and I are affected at all by this experiment and to see if we establish more connections with our loved ones. We’ll be back again for our last post of the month to tell you all how it went.

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