Archive for the ‘audiences’ Category

Lost Part of Me and I Feel So Alone

May 11, 2010

First of all, so sorry for the late post. Upon returning from a weekend away I came home to find that when I turned on my MacBook Pro that the screen just remained black. Obviously this led to much panic, a hasty rush to the apple store, etc. Upon arrival there the happy news that my data was not lost, was quickly overshadowed by the fact that they need it for about two weeks. As anyone else that has been in this situation can attest, it feels as if I am missing a very important part of me (I am still going through shock/ withdrawals, not knowing what to do with myself without my computer). Going back many weeks- I suppose this is one more example of how my media and technology controls me.

Anyways onto this weeks readings, as I type on this foreign computer I cannot help but think about the Haddon article, “Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape” and the ways in which media and technology affect our communication. Haddon points out that when the internet emerged there were concerns that those who dedicated their time to things online were being anti-social. However, these people had simply found a different way to be social that no longer involved face-to-face contact. Now as I sit here without my own computer, I am the one feeling anti-social. Common sense would tell you that me not having a computer would force me increase my face-to-face communication with those around me but that is not so much the case. As communicating via the internet has become so common place, it feels  less comfortable to call a friend or even walk down the street to visit. We now use our media as forms of personal communication that was once only achieved via actually speaking out loud. Without my computer I feel as though I have lost a part of me, and I feel so alone without it.

In the article Haddon discusses how technology has changed the way in which we may communicate, updating our techniques, but the messages are generally the same. I wish to add something to this- much of the time our communication is rather personal, we do not like to share what we say with one individual with others, and therefore we create ways of keeping this communication secretive. For example, as I use my roommates computer I have not logged into ichat which I would normally do on my own. Although there would not be a way for her to read the conversations once I log out it still seems rather personal and therefore something that should be reserved for my own laptop. Similarly, we hardly share phones with one another except in emergency or dire situations (whereas in the past family lines were the norm). Therefore it appears as though with the emergence of more personalized individual technologies comes more secrecy and privacy.

This shift in communication, as Haddon points out, is not making us any more anti-social, simply we are communicating in new ways that are not necessarily traditional face-to-face methods. The textual examples of internet gamers or hanging out online in chat rooms are perfect examples of this. Although I may go hours without talking to someone out loud, it is very unlikely I will not have been socializing via texts, email, chats etc.  Haddon points out that social constraints and factors affect how we chose to communicate, with whom and where, largely impacting the secrecy or privacy of this communication, yet having little effect on the amount of communication overall.

One final comment/ critic on the Haddon reading, although I agree there are many good points made about the repertoires of communication practices as Stuie pointed out, I was a little frustrated at times with the fact that the reading felt slightly out of date and out of touch with our society. The quote regarding emails being an unreliable method of reaching someone on short notice was especially odd to me. In this day in age just about anyone who would be setting up last-minute meetings (especially business people and students) have nearly constant internet access. Although I cannot speak for everyone, it seems as though most people are constantly connected via cell phones, laptops, wifi networks, and the various other ways to access email. Perhaps it is time for Haddon to take a look at her communication channels and analyze how they may need to be upgraded with the changing times.