Always Connected03 Feb 2011
Jumping in to my Comm180 class, we as active students and part-time employees, were asked to block out all telecommunication for our lives for a full forty-eight hours. Two days without any kind of technology. Internet, television, radio, cell phones, credit cards. A student's life in our current society.
Personally, I was not feeling too overwhelmed with giving up technology for this assignment as I regularly go backpacking fully disconnected without cell phone service. However, I was not as ready for remaining immersed in the community without technology.
Communication with friends is completely intertwined with technology and telecommunications now. It is no longer commonly acceptable to simply show up at your friend's place unannounced: Knock "Hey! Lets hang out...Oh you already have plans...Um...". Everyone expects a quick text or a pop of a facebook chat. Plans are made as a group through instant text messages. If you are without technology and therefore do not know of the text messages for dinner tonight, you are just assumed to be sleeping. No one is going to come knock on your door. Planning ahead is required - things become less spontaneous with the lack of instant communication.
School work and classes are a whole other story. My classes are a bit biased since I am an Information Science and Technology major, however, most people I know have similar experience. Almost all classes are managed through an online course system. Assignments, attendance, lectures, slides, email from teachers. Everything related to that class is on the system. Including tests and quizzes. There is no way to avoid the online system without failing the course at the same time. This is not to say Angel (the appropriately names course management system) is bad or a problem. It is just invasive and dominates the class sometimes more than the material itself.
Telecommunication and mass media are a major part of downtime or free time. When not busy with anything else, or even when busy, Facebook and other media sites are the go to thing. Many students check sites like these many times per day as a way to stay in touch with their friends or to keep from being bored when they have nothing to do. A NY Times article on the Effect of Tech Devices on our Brains pointed out during class opens the question of what this constant connection to technology is doing to our brains.
It is impossible to maintain work and social relationships without technology today.
Side Note: While writing this post in the library I witnessed a student working on a paper on the right half of his screen. Youtube was playing on the left half. When he got up to leave, he unplugged the headphones from the computer and plugged them directly into an ipod.
Conveniently look for the original of this post written on a papyrus scroll stored away in my basement.