Observation: Dependance

I was sitting in rehearsal recently and decided to take a note of cell phone use.  I am in some kind of rehearsal Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  On Sundays I sit with the low winds in the back of the orchestra so it’s easier to see because people usually keep their phones on their stands next to their music so it looks like you’re just making notes on the page.  Anyway, over the course of the past four rehearsals I noticed a striking number of cell phones being used while we were playing a piece!  If the clarinets had a few measures of rests (seriously not even twenty seconds), some people checked their phones and some were checking twitter.  Have e become so dependent on technology that we can’t go five minutes without checking into social media or sending a text?  It’s one thing to text in class, but to be actively engaged in a task that demands your attention, and you can’t even focus for five minutes.  How would a coach react if he saw a basketball player texting while dribbling down the court?  That person would be cut immediately, and he would just look like a jerk.  One of our Marching Band superlatives this year was “Most likely to be texting during rehearsal”.  I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing… People need to understand that it’s okay to turn off your phone sometimes.  It’s okay to want to enjoy the task you’re currently present for, or the company you’re with without the need to be (virtually) somewhere else.

Observation: Too many resources

Whenever I watch the news I always find it interesting about how many resources the news provides.  I was watching the Channel 11 News the other day regarding the snowstorm, and it seemed like instead of new news stories, they were advertising their website and their mobile app.  If you’re watching the news on T.V. why are you going to go online for the same information you just watched?  Also why does there need to be a WJZ mobile app for the news, when it’s equally, if not more convenient to just google (or go to their mobile webpage) whatever you’re looking for?  When I watch the news I want actual news, not just the general gist of what’s going on and then advertisements of why I should choose this news station, or even worse boost their scope.  In another direction, I don’t understand why there are so many nightly news shows.  Can we take a minute to reflect up the fact that there are 15+ news shows and it still took me twenty minutes to find out how much snow we were supposed to get, when, and where last night?  I guess I should have downloaded the mobile app if I wanted quicker results.  Maybe I’m thinking too radically here, but the nightly news should be a staple, not a business.  It’s all about ratings and making money when it should be about delivering the news to people.  And not this crappy cut and paste news, but the whole hearted truth however frightening it may be.  We need to be better educated on current events in society because I’m sick of hearing people debate over things they know nothing about. [end rant]

The “Anti-Social Network”

(Not taking credit for coining that title)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/josephgrenny/2013/05/07/is-facebook-making-us-antisocial/

I have seen some horrible things being said on social media.  This article is center around Facebook declining to add a “Dislike” button, in the hopes that people would remain friendly and foster closer relationships instead of fighting.  Not that a dislike button would really have the power to do anything anyway, but is that what arguments are coming to? You either like or you don’t? Wheres the debates, intelligent conversation, and the sharing of ideas that are the basics of human interaction??  We have voices for a reason!  And no those voices are not for tearing someone apart online because you can’t see their face so you think you can say whatever you want because you’re technically not talking to a real person.  It drives me crazy because so many quiet people are so loud online, and sometimes they even take on a completely different persona. What will conversation be like in another ten years? It scares me to think about it sometimes.

Good, Bad, and Ugly: Media Edition

http://www.seochat.com/c/a/social/social-media-and-society-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

This article is similar to the Sherry Turkle video, “Connected, but Alone?”, yet it is much more informal and straight to the point.  The author, Ann Smarty, reflects on the way technology has impacted our social lives in roughly the past ten years. She points out the benefits of social media (Communication, Inclusion, Big Business, etc.), and also points out some negatives (Restricting social interaction, impolite, unproductive).  She goes off on a bit of a rant when she discusses the ugly side of social media however, the rude, the ignorant, the attention-seekers.  This is not a research-backed paper, just some girl voicing her opinion.  But I agree in many ways, social media should be limited because what is more personal than enjoying real life and the company around you?

Media Bias and Ignorance

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-womack/the-real-problem-with-the_1_b_1207888.html

I found this article to be particularly telling. So many people complain about politics and other things in the news, but way too many of them have not done nearly enough (if any) research in order to form their own opinion.  It makes me so angry when people babble on about a blurb that they half-heard on Fox news or even a commercial.  My high school was very… biased when it came to politics, but none of them actually understood the context of the issues they so vehemently disagreed with.  This article discusses how many commercial news networks have bias, and present not facts of the situation, but the details their viewers want to hear.  The funniest thing to me was how there was a trend in how the majority of the votes for the president came from people who knew little about the candidate!  I remember back in 2008 during the election, my friends and some family said they would vote for president Obama because he had a cool name!  People complain about the government takeover and media bias, but in all honesty what are we doing to stop it?  Is anyone trying to find out what’s really going on in the world, or do we watch the news so we have polite conversation for work tomorrow?

Observation – “Superbowl Party”

So a bit ago I went to a Super Bowl party, and media and technology were surprisingly the main attraction.  Being that none of us really cared much about football anyway, and we saw it as just something to do, we took a satyrical approach to the event.  Imagine fifteen or so young adults all sitting around a T.V.; ten of them on laptops/phones, and the other five watching just for the commercials and halftime.  Those on laptops were playing video games together, and even more interestingly talking to each other in the game, even thought they were sitting within arms reach.  Those on cell phones were playing either Trivia Crack with each other, or Snapchatting each other.  Everyone was having such a great time, and it seemed so strange to me that they found more enjoyment in talking via technology than looking up and using their words.  People have voices for a reason!  It really bothers me when people have a huge get together with friends and nobody talks because everyone is so wrapped up in being somewhere else.  If you have the time to spend with another person you should cherish it, because sadly you don’t know if you’ll have the opportunity again.  You can always look at Facebook or play Trivia Crack when you’re alone, but you don’t always have an chance for good conversation.  Those are the best memories in my opinion; just a get together with friends, talking about everything and nothing at the same time and just enjoying each others company.  I think back to my favorite memories, and technology isn’t even involved. Staying up all night having a conversation with someone, walking around outside telling stories, playing cards, dancing with your friends… I don’t remember checking Facebook, tweeting, etc. It’s those unexpected and maybe even awkward moments and interactions that make life special, and I don’t think we should take those moments for granted.

Social Media: Who cares what Mark ate for lunch at 3:22 pm?

Social Media: How does it really affect our mental health and well-being?

I really enjoyed this article.  I know that I’m one of “the millennial’s” and social media and texting are supposed to be my favorite things, and maybe I’m just an old soul trapped in a young person’s body, but I think it’s too much.  Hanging out with family/friends is almost pointless because everyone’s on their phones and it’s almost as if they can’t be bothered with what you have to say in person.  It really upsets me because I don’t think that Facebook or twitter can ever, or SHOULD ever replace actual human interaction… I see young kids who could care less about anything because they’re face down in their iPads.  Where is the intellectual stimulation in that? When did liking someones status or picture online become a better gesture than telling them in person?  Maybe I’m just being crazy here, but  a phone call will always be better than a text, a compliment will always be better than a like, and in the case of needing social media I think ignorance really is bliss…