Final thoughts and reflection.

Writing for this blog has been such an intruiging project. I have stumbled across a vast number of interesting books, articles, youtube clips, documentaries and debates about internet and technology. Although some of them have been mentioned in the blog, others have not, as they might not have related to the specific topics that I have chosen to focus on. If anyone is interested in getting more knowledge about technology and how it affects our life I can truly recommend Sherry Turkles book; Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2012). The Minimalists Blog; http://www.theminimalists.com/ (the minimalists does not write specifically about technology, but there are some important posts about cutting down on online time) and too keep updated on TEDx talks on YouTube.

Working on this project has made me reflect on everyday life and how it is effected by use of technology and social media in particular. Writing a conclusion at this point is nearly impossible as I am still figuring it out for myself. There is still a lot of things to make up my mind about, for example if I should keep my Facebook account or not. Other things have become more clear to me during the course of this project, the key point being; do not let internet distract you from life. When I am old I do not want too look back on my life and feel like I wasted years in front of a screen.

Age is nothing but a number.

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My grandmother was born in the 1930’s. Looking back in history, I think it is fair to say she have lived through some of the most interesting decades to date. The pictures she and my dad has of his childhood in the 50’s and 60’s seems like a whole world away too me. If there is something my grandmother has been brilliant at, it has been to keep up with the times.

She was a housewife, but decided to go back to school, became a student advisor, learnt english when it became increasingly important and got a cellphone even tough she hardly ever turned it on for the first year of having it. She is an excellent example of an older generation who want to learn about new technology and use it as a tool, both for practical reasons and to communicate with family and friends. My dad and his siblings got my grandmother a iPad for her birthday a year ago, and since then it has been her favourite possession. Why? Because it enables her to e-mail all of her grandkids (there are seven of us) and for us to send photographs to her. But what might even more important is that it has enabled my grandmother to read books again. On her iPad she can enlarge the text if she struggles to see, plus it enables her to change the background light to make the contrast clearer.

However, a 2009 survey from the Office of National statistics have shown that more then 6 million people over the age of 65 have not used the internet. A shockingly large number in a world where everything seems to be computerised. So what is stopping elderly people from going online? Many fear technology, for example because they have heard about the dangers of internet scams or viruses. Learning new things takes longer time when we get older, and many people might not think that they need to use it as we get older.

But if you think about it, internet really is the optimal tool for the elderly population. Internet could for example be used to look for the cheapest deals, too look for discounts or to access services such as food delivery for those who struggle to physically do their grocery shopping.

Here is an article from The Telegraph about how Internet can help the elderly population prevent isolation and loneliness. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9709233/Getting-pensioners-online-could-solve-elderly-loneliness-crisis.html

I find this article so interesting but would also like to end this post by saying that we still need to take care of each other and no computer in the world can replace real life interaction.

Can you say what you want online?

Here is a news reportage about a woman who made comments about her manager in a closed forum (with password) online and later on was fired because of this. The reportage highlights this very interesting dilemma; who was in the wrong? The woman for making comments about her manager or the manager for entering a private conversation?

I’m dating a model! (We just haven’t met yet)

 

From the cable television channel who brought you 6 long seasons of pointless reality drama amongst L.A youngsters (yes, I am referring to “The Hills”) comes a reality show that is surprisingly decent.

This new show is MTV’s Catfish. Catfish started as a documentary film project between a group of young New York film makers. Long story short, They think they are filming their best pal Nev falling in love and developing an online relationship and decides to make a road trip to meet the girl he has fallen in love with. Only to discover that this woman is a made up character – a Catfish.

The movie became a huge success and the guys were approached by MTV who offered to make it into a TV show.

All episodes features a person who has invested themselves into online relationships, some of them for years, but that has not met the person they are allegedly dating. Hosts Nev and Max then play detectives to find out wether or not the person is a Catfish or not. Most of the time, they are.

One of my favourite episodes features a girl called Sunny, who is convinced she dating model Jamison King. She shows Nev and Max flirty texts and Facebook messages that has been sent between the two of them. Then they ask her what he is doing, and here is when it gets fishy, “He write cue cards for Chelsea Lately but he is also a model and takes classes in anaesthesiologist online”. If it seems a bit too good to be true, it probably is. Jamison King is a real model, however he does not do anaesthesiologist classes and he does not write cue cards for Chelsea lately AND more importantly, he was not the person who Sunny had been talking to. In reality Sunny had been talking to a girl who created this online persona in order to get back at people who had bullied her in High School.

This is what makes the show so interesting, because Sunny is definitely not alone in dating a Catfish, she is not even the one who I would said was the most invested in her relationship out of the people who were featured in the first season of the show.

Hosts Nev and Max does always do a short reflection segment at the end of each episode and they are providing some good tips. This is a clip of them talking about internet dating and their experiences. http://www.mtv.co.uk/shows/catfish/episode/catfish-the-tv-show-season-1-online-dating

In conclusion here are the three main warning signs you might be talking to a catfish:

  • They have less then 100 Facebook friends
  • The claim to be a model
  • If they are not able to video chat or send a photograph with something specific (like a note of your name)

Nev pretty much laid down the law when made a point of that you really should think about how much time you are willing to invest into a relationship with a person who you have never met.   

Finally check out this clip of when the Catfish creators met with Ellen DeGeneres: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loesprlsvng 

To be, or not to be… on Facebook.

I joined Facebook in 2007.That’s six years ago, but I doesn’t seem like it has been that long. When I was eleven I went to an international summer camp, where I made lots of friends from different countries and cultures. The summer camp lasted a month and when I got back I had a severe case of reversed homesickness.

The christmas after I sent and received presents from Brazil, Norway and USA. I got my own E-mail address and I wrote letters. Today the idea of writing anything except for lecture notes with a pen and paper seem quite distant.

Then Facebook came along, and I joined. It was definitely easier. Just a click away was most of the camp friends. They had joined Facebook before I did, which was kind of strange, because as I recall I had to sign up with a false date of birth to be able to join, 15 year-olds were not welcome on Facebook back in the days.

However by using the group function on Facebook I reconnected with a lot of the people who I had lost contact with during the years that had passed between then and the summer camp.

I never intended to use Facebook to connect with people whom I met in school everyday. In 2007 our phone bill went trough the roof. I spent hours on the phone with two of my close friends. MSN Messenger was the media through which I connected with people whom I didn’t know well enough or didn’t have bravery enough to call.

Today, I use Facebook daily, I have kept my summer camp friends on my friends list, but we hardly ever speak. But when we do, we are not using the features on Facebook, instead its like an E-mail account. Instead it is the people who I meet in University during the week that I communicate most with. We have our own course page and sub-groups for assessments and so on. It is the people who I meet on a regular basis that I share photos with or whom I send open messages too.

My attitude towards Facebook is split in two; one part of me thinks that it is an absolute waste of my time and space. A distraction rather then a communication tool. I also question the way Facebook enables us to judge people around us, only by what has been posted by them and others on their timeline. In a matter of seconds you can click your way back to when they first joined Facebook and see everything they posted since then.

Then there is the other half of me, who feels very dependent on Facebook. I worry that I would miss out if I deleted my account. Would I get invited to as many events? How would I be able to keep in touch with all of the friends who I no longer live in the same city or even country as?

Here is a video clip from ABC News about a teacher who dares his students to go off Facebook for a week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W8LPzeUrek

And here is a great article by Douglas Rushkoff on why he is quitting Facebook: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/opinion/rushkoff-why-im-quitting-facebook 

What is your reason for having a Facebook account?

Not so smartphones.

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I think everyone I know has been to a dinner where at least one of the people around their table is an smartphone addict. In my family of four, we have 3 addicts. Everyone but me owns an smartphone, and this is by choice, I just don’t get the hype.

However being online constantly has turned our quality family time to not be of such high quality at all. Because something is always happening on their phones. They have pockets full of distractions.

While my mother refuse to let me read the newspaper during dinner, the other family members are more often then not reading something on their iPhone.

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My dad could easily be described as somewhat of a technology-gadget nerd. We have the weirdest stuff you would not even know you needed. For example, the weather sensor, that tells you what the weather is like. You would think going outside would be enough. The gadget closest to dads heart is probably his new sound system, because it can be controlled though the phone. I have to admit, the sound system is awesome. But as my dad now can control his music from his phone via an online Spotify account, he seem to be unable to stop constantly checking up on what is queuing as the next song, or look for other alternatives and constantly checking for new albums.

I remember how in my early teenage years, both me and my brother had a CD player in our room and we use to drive our mother and father nuts by constantly changing song. They use to warn us this behavior would ruin the CD:s by scratching them. Why they did not want Celine Dions CD to go die after 1000 playbacks of “My heart will go on”, I will never understand. But now the tables have turned and they drive us crazy by not making up their minds.

Here is a scenario I think we all can relate to.

You are at a dinner, conversation is flowing freely and everyone seem to have a good time. And then, someone post a question that nobody can come up with the answer to. For example: “What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?“, “What was the name of that scary doll in that scary movie?”, “Is Betty White the only one of the Golden Girls still alive?“. And then there is always some iPhone nerd who picks up their phone. And then one out of two things happen:

1. The iPhone nerd screams out “I have an app for that“. And then everyone waits in silence for the answer, and in their heads they all curse him for being a conversation killer.

2. The iPhone nerd quietly looks up the answer in safari while all others are moving on from the topic. Five minutes later the iPhone nerd goes; “Tomorrow it is going to be sunny between 1-1.30pm, the rest of the day will be cloudy with an average temperature of 15 celsius.” Nobody really cares, but they all lost track of what they were talking of.

Put down your phone and enjoy living in blissful uncertainty.  

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Day Three.

 

Tomorrow I can turn on my home internet access again. It is definitely going to be nice not to have to walk to the library when I want to Skype or search for information.

But I would like to focus on the positive. Because there are a lot of positive things about not having any internet. First of all, I have found that it makes you more accessible to the people around you, which might sound like a contradiction since there is this great myth that internet makes us all more connected to each other. What I mean by more accessible is really more focused. More focused to listen to the individuals who are around me without the distraction of technology. It forces you to keep an conversation going as you can not seek refuge on internet when conversations slows down. And this is a good thing. It is also sending out a powerful message to others – that you value spending time with them.

Secondly, I became more productive during these three days. Over 72 hours I was able to do more of the necessary things then I usually do during a full week. I was able to focus on my module readings, I red a full book cover to cover, I submitted applications for summer jobs and I planned out my days and made more of them.

And last but not least, it allowed me to have more time to do the things I truly like. When I was not super stressed over losing hours by being online for no reason, I had time both to work and play more then before. I ran and worked out every day, I took my longboard to the beach and I spent more time with my friends.

This project has definitely made me happier and although I don’t think I will be shutting down my internet access completely after, I do intend to drastically cut down on my online hours.