Friday, January 15, 2016

Week 1 Blog Prompt

Here is your first blog prompt--remember, you do NOT have to answer this prompt, though you may choose to do so. Refer to the syllabus for the grading criteria.

Two options:

1. Hector Carral on Medium recently argued this:

“I’m just not able to comprehend why should we be forced to interact with those physically close to us instead of with the people that we really want to interact with. Is it so bad to prefer talking with a long-distance partner using a smartphone than with someone who does not interest me but happens to be next to me? To prefer reading how the people you’ve followed [for] years on Twitter are doing instead of making small talk with that friend of a friend sitting across the subway car? Maybe you think that yes, it is bad, that people should always prioritize physical interaction to digital one. I disagree. Except for obvious occasions … I think people should be able to interact with whomever they please without being judged by people for using a smartphone to do so.”

This is obviously a differing opinion from the one I voiced on Friday. Of course, I was being a bit polemical; nonetheless, I'd like to ask who has is it right--should we try to talk to strangers more, or should we be comfortable staying within our established social networks? Is there a middle ground to be struck here? What does that look like? In thinking about that middle ground, might there be a role for digital media technologies in producing common experiences? What are some examples of that?

2. Can you write in the style to Tim Maughan's "Your Gaze" about another filter? Mimic the content--a protagonist looking around, then looking at a woman, but with a different filter. What would "Sea of Red" by UNL look like? What would a "Steampunk" filter look like? 


  1. Communication Barriers within the Workplace

    Throughout High School and into College I have considered myself not very dependent on my phone; since unlike many of my peers I do not have a Twitter, Instagram, or Vine account. But when I started working at my first job when I was 16 years old, I quickly realized that I had lacked in some communication skills in the workplace. Granted, it was my first job and I was an awkward 16 year old, but as the years went by those communication barriers partially diminished but much of it remained.

    In the workplace I realized that since I grew up and became used to communicating by texting, messaging, or using other social medias in terms of communicating with others, and not actually talking on the phone much. Even today, I still have some anxiety when professionally talking to someone face-to-face or on the phone.

    Coming from they state that “based on studies, they show that these generations, which will compromise more than 50% of the workforce in 2020, would prefer to use instant messaging or other social media than stop by an office or talk to someone face to face or even talking on the phone.”

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  3. Your lectures regarding an increase in technology and a decrease in physical interaction has opened my eyes to the frequency that digital interaction is chosen over physical interaction. I have begun to recognize how often my peers avoid a possible awkward conversation before class with a new classmate by simply looking busy by picking up his or her phone. While I understand that it is a personal decision to choose whether you would rather interact with people digitally who are farther away over those that are physically near you, I would not say that it is a choice without a cost.

    I found an interesting article written by Jasmine Fowlkes, a USA TODAY research analyst, that analyzed how social media and digital interaction are affecting our social skills. ( The article mentions a research study called TalkTrack performed by Ed Keller and Brad Fay that suggests that “90% of the influential conversations that we have every day happen offline, while only 8% are online.” Here we could apply the idea of democracy as we spoke of in class; the idea of forging trust with those around us through interaction. By choosing not to physically interact with those around us, we are avoiding an opportunity for democracy. We are choosing to have less meaningful conversations using a digital format, over the higher possibility of a meaningful conversation in person.

    Considering this information, consistently choosing digital interaction over physical interaction could be robbing a person from participating in and experiencing meaningful conversations. I think a happy middle ground can be found to possibly lessen the blow of this robbery. Maybe an easy start would be to take the opportunity to strike up a conversation during one half of your commute on the train, rather than taking the whole time to digitally interact. Even just choosing to look up from your phone to smile at a stranger or say hello could be a big step, and might even lead to a meaningful conversation.

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  5. After listening to your lecture dealing with social networks, technology, etc., it became very obvious to me as to how many people are actually caught up in their social networking life almost 24/7. When thinking of myself and how much I'm connected to my social network, I am found guilty. However, after entering your class and taking the time to actually listen, step-back and realize how social networking at times seems like it's taking over people's lives, it's a definite eye opener.

    In today's society, it is a very rare occasion to see someone NOT on their phone and actually paying attention to their surroundings. In my opinion, in order for our world to "get out of our comfort zone", so to speak, people must make an effort at finding a balance between social networking and actually communicating with strangers/individuals around us.

    The other day, I decided to leave my phone at home for the day and see if and/or how it would change my everyday routine and let me tell you, it was unreal. The amount of people I saw walking to class staring down at their phone, or even before/during class was not only a distraction, but in my opinion, very unfortunate. By simply not having my phone with me for a total of 24 hours, I felt so much more observant of all my surroundings, met strangers that I probably would have never noticed, and really showed me that our society does have an issue with social networking.

    Truthfully, with new technology being invented everyday and our societies growing, I honestly don't know what actions could be taken in order to minimize social networking all while simply balancing it with getting out of our comfort zones. It would be interesting to sit down and develop new ideas, that don't deal with technology, to improve the balance between the two.

  6. First Blog Prompt, option #2

    Filter: “Sea Of Red”
    Sponsored by The University of Nebraska Lincoln
    The sun beams down hitting all things red. There is hardly an inch of ground that is not inhabited by tailgaters. It is game day in Lincoln and the Huskers are facing the rivaled Iowa Hawkeyes. Although the game is not for another hour, the air is filled with drunken screams and sober chatters about the Nebraska Football legacy. Everyone is wearing some sort of scarlet and cream or Husker attire. The sidewalks, streets, and every yard within a mile radius of the stadium is covered with beer, and game day snacks. Cars, each filled with the maximum capacity of people form a line from Omaha and every other neighboring city, inching along like a worm. Every bar and restaurant with a TV is tuned in to the game. Every house at the bottoms is filled with rowdy college students degrading the Hawkeyes. You are sitting on the porch of an old house on Charleston Street, and start to stare at the drunken sorority girl across from the street from me on a similar porch step. She is wearing acid wash high-waisted shorts, monogrammed white high-top converse, a tight red-cropped tank top, and corn beads. Despite how drunk she looks she continues to drink out of a red solo cup alone, spilling down her shirt. Her hair is perfectly curled and her make up perfectly done, yet she looks like a hot mess. As if she was using the absolute last reserve of energy she has left, the girl lifts her head and looks your direction. Her glazed over eyes try and hold focus on yours, you feel the hot flash of guilt as…

    Filter: Fifty Shades of Grey
    Sponsored by Grey Enterprise
    The sun pierces down on a grey-scaled futuristic world. Everything in sight is the newest version and could pass a white glove dust inspection. Silent hums of Audis running and grammatically perfect whispers fill your ears. All glass skyscrapers surround you, making you feel small and insignificant. Your plain clothes that don’t accentuate your figure, and haircut that doesn’t bring out the natural shape of your face make you stick out like a sore thumb in this world of perfection. Everyone around you is beautiful, confident, with luscious blonde hair and flawless skin. They walk tall with purpose and amazing posture, from one important destination to the next while you try to remember why you are even there in the first place. You sit down on a bench near by to catch your breath, but you did not notice the gorgeous man already sitting down. He is on the phone so you can’t help but gaze over at him. With a perfect jaw line and golden locks he speaks affirmatively on the phone about some business deal. He is wearing a charcoal grey suit, probably designer with a white button up and dress shoes that look like they’ve never been worn before. He finally notices your staring and ends the phone call. You have been so busy analyzing every aspect of his being that you don’t have time to look away. His intense grey eyes catch yours, making you feel like you are supposed to be right where you are. He makes it seem like he is enjoying your presence and you start to feel a hot flush of guilt as…

  7. In all honesty I am a full supporter of technology and all its amazing functions. I am an advertising major, and social media brought to us through various technologies is a key platform in how we reach our audiences. I also own my own photography business, and I’m almost certain I would lose around 30% of my business if I didn’t have access to Facebook, Flickr and my own website. I think technology pushes communication to the next level, and give us as young professionals the opportunity to increase our networking, and business growth.

    On the contrary I do see how I can be so absorbed in advertising my business, learning new information, and networking with people that I can become a complete “glasshole” to say the least. In my attempt to network I lose vital connections with the people I am physically around. There are times when the idea of civil innovation is the farthest thing from a priority. It’s so easy to justify my lack of attention to the people surrounding me by saying “well this is for business purposes.”

    I definitely agree with Lauren’s previous comment about social media destroying social skills. I think it’s hilarious that I’m trying to make more connection and interact with more people, while in an extreme sense I’m destroying the physical relationships right next to me. Even though I strongly believe technology can play a positive role in my life I do want to be aware how it can distort my social skills, and how digital communication needs to be kept in place.

  8. In response to Héctor Carral:
    Social networking has allowed people from every corner of the world to communicate with each other. The power of social networking has grown into a goliath that is here to stay wether we like it or not. The only conceivable change with social media is when it is used. Social media has a time and a place for its use. The optimum time and place is still being developed by the invisible hand of social norms.
    It’s permissible to look at your phone if you're having an active conversation with someone. However, in a group setting checking social media should be held to a minimum. More likely than not, the social media you were going to see will still be there in a few hours. We should be focusing on the social interactions with the people we’re with. I can’t recall a time when I had more fun on Twitter and Facebook than the amount of fun I had with a group of friends. In my opinion, there’s nothing more socially satisfying than face to face communication with others.
    The most common use of social media is often to avoid social engagement with people we don’t know. People are quick to pull out their phones to avoid face to face conversation with a stranger or to act busy while on the quiet elevator ride. In my experience, making new friends starts by the little conversations in these instances. Who knows, the person you just avoided in the elevator could’ve been your future best friend that would stick with you until you’re on your death bed. That’s an extreme example, but it’s a possibility!
    In conclusion, social media has became apart of nearly everyone’s daily lives. Social media is here to stay and that’s rightfully so. It allows for people to communicate with each other across the world and is responsible for the creation of countless social movements. The rapid expansion of social media has created growing pains in how we interact with others on a daily basis. Social media should be used as an expansion to the interactions we have with others, not as a substitute.

  9. To cell phone or not to cell phone, that is the question. Throughout my 19 years on Earth I’ve spent most of it with the helping hand of a cell phone. I was a bit socially awkward growing up and new people and situations proved a challenge for me at times. Being able to contact and network with people through the use of my cell phone has helped a lot as I’ve grown up and matured socially. At the time it provided a nice barrier for me to hide my social insecurities behind as I eased my way into more confident communicating.
    But that is exactly what it was. A barrier. A barrier between you and everything that isn’t a push notification or a text on your phone. Usually coming from a select group of friends and family and a limited amount of applications. It amazes me how something that has access to anything in the world boils down to social media for a lot of people. My opinion that cellphones can help you grow and mature has flipped into one that says cellphones are making people more immature than ever. Making new friends and being a decent human doesn’t matter when your Instagram and twitter game are on point.
    Not only do cellphones encouraged social media overuse, I found a Huffington post article that suggests that cell phones make day to day interpersonal communication a challenge for most people simply by being in the room ( The article mentions a study done by Scientific American that focused on communication quality. Groups of two strangers were asked to discuss a topic for ten minutes, some sitting with a cellphone in the room and some not. The groups that conversed in the presence of cellphones reported less quality overall in their interaction. While the groups who were left with a notebook rather than a phone reported that their interaction was a positive experience.
    I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I agree more with Damien. People should be pushed to go out and interact with the world around them and not just what they choose to. You can’t choose what the world consists of. Trying to limit your life to a screen is a terrifying thought to me. However, I do think there is some middle ground as I have personally benefitted socially from having a cellphone.
    As far as media technologies being used to create a common experience, I think we already have the resources we need, we just need to change how we use them. Use Twitter to link up with a Go Fund Me or Instagram to sponsor abused animals instead of another picture of you and your baby cousin. All we need to make cellphones great again is a change of outlook, not a change of filter.