Culminating Project

We live in a world today where face-to-face communication is decreasing because of the increase of technology. In person interactions have changed because cellular devices get in the way of the conversation. People find that it is easier way to have conversations that are broader because they know that people are less focused on the conversation and more focused on the screen that is in front of their face. Many articles have found that face-to-face communication is adjusting because individuals are becoming less engaged in person due to the distraction of technology. This topic is very important to discuss because it is negatively affecting interpersonal relationships and changing people’s views on face-to-face communication.

With the increase of cell phone use, comes the decrease of face-to-face communication. Face-to-face communication allows individuals to sense body movements and/or facial expressions of the recipient of the conversation. Mercola (2015) created a survey on whether individuals would prefer to meet with someone in person or communicate through the phone. 87% of the surveyors said that they would prefer to meet in person because they believed it would be more productive. These participants said that it would be more productive to communicate face-to-face because they would be able to see the facial expressions, eye gazes, and other body movements of the recipient. The article states that when individuals meet in person it allows their brain to synchronize with others.

Having the ability to observe a nonverbal cue lets both the sender and the receiver of a conversation understand where the other is coming from. Therefore, Dr. Mercola concludes that when face-to-face communication decreases, individuals lose the ability to read others. Dr. Mercola’s study was completed over three years ago and technology has increased a lot since the article has been written. This raises several concerns because it brings up the question of what is face-to-face communication going to look like three years from now when technology increases more? A lot is at stake here because face-to-face communication is going to decrease drastically. That means that people aren’t going to know how to talk to one another, which means that individuals are going to become more dependent on their technology devices.

When individuals text, they do not have the ability to see the other person. This takes away the visual and auditory cues of voice dynamics, body language, and facial expressions that help express meaning and emotion (Suler, 2010). Without face-to-face interactions, individuals lose the capability of dissecting someone’s tone of voice. Suler (2010) explains that without the tone of voice, it is very easy to misinterpret a sarcastic text message. Sprencher, Wickes, & Wickes (2009) explain that text-based conversations allow more time for individuals to communicate. For example, there are situations where an individual takes a few hours to respond to a text message. In this scenario, the conversation continues right where it was left off because there hasn’t been any other form of communication in between. However, if the conversation between the two individuals were in person, the communication would be completed in a shorter amount of time. When an individual takes more time to respond to a message it might also give them more time to interpret what the other has to say because they have time to reread the message as many times as they want. When text messaging, individuals have the ability to edit their responses.

Face-to-face communication is very crucial for ensuring that people will continue to have significant interpersonal relationships. The reading, Stop Googling. Let’sTalk., by Turkle discusses how technology is negatively affecting face-to-face communication. The reading talks about how conversations are become broader because technology devices are distracting people. The article states, “Conversations are kept relatively light, on topics where people feel they can drop in out.” People aren’t getting the attention they deserve because the people they attempt to tell a story to are too distracted on their phones.

The article also talks about how teenagers from this generation are trying to create new rules for the future generation. For example, one 15-year-old complained that his parents allow him to have his phone at the kitchen table. He said that he wants to make sure that his children don’t have their devices on the table because it distracts them from face-to-face communication. Having phones away from the table will ensure that the family will have interactions with one another rather than worrying about all of the distractions from technology. It is very crucial that all teenagers have this mindset because that is going to be the only way the new generations change face-to-face communication in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzyMxQRZ2JQ

This youtube video shows individuals in two different scenarios. The first scenario are scenes of individuals sitting next to each other with their devices in hand and the second scenario are scenes of those same individuals without devices in their hand. It was interesting to watch how people reacted when they realized they had to have face-to-face communication with the person sitting next to them. Most of them ended up just discussing technological topics, like social media, while others felt stuck and awkward. It is sad that we live in a society where people struggle to find topics to discuss with strangers. It is very crucial that people start to acknowledge that face-to-face communication is changing because that will be the only way things will get better.

In conclusion, face-to-face communication is drastically changing due to the increase of technology. Many sources have found that it is very crucial for face-to-face communication to continue because that is the only way people share genuine communication with one another. In addition, people have to start recognizing that the society is shifting toward a decrease of face-to-face communication because that will be the only way of improving this issue. Once people are aware they will attempt to come up with solutions to fixing this issue. Overall, face-to-face communication is very crucial in an interpersonal relationship and it should never lose its importance.

Concluding reflection:

I really enjoyed making this final blog post. It was very interesting to see how I’ve used all of my past knowledge from previous homework assignments and readings and incorporated it with newer research and more knowledge on a specific topic. Overall, this course has taught me a lot about the importance of face-to-face communication and how it is up to us as individuals to change the society. I am going to use all of my new knowledge from this course and attempt to teach people everything that I’ve learned this semester. It is very important to continue to talk about how technology is changing our society because that is going to be the only way we change our society for the better.

 

References:

Mercola (2015, October 8). The Power of Face-to-Face Communication in a Digital World. Retrieved from            https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/08/face-to-face-   meetings.aspx

Sprecher, Wickes, and Wickes, E. (2009). Communication, instant messaging and other new media. In H. Reis & S. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from https://muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/sagehumanr/communication_instant_messaging_and_other_new_media/0

Suler, J. (2010). Interpersonal guidelines for texting. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(4), 358-361. doi:10.1002/aps.268

Turkle, S. (2015, September 26). Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/sunday/stop-googling-lets-talk.html

Connected or Disconnected Blog Post

Fenton, Turkle, and Wesch.  How does their view of technology, what it’s doing to us, what we are doing with it, differ? Which position(s) do you find most compelling and why?

This week, I have learned a lot after annotating both Fenton and Turkle’s readings. Both writers discuss how social media is changing our society. However, Fenton focuses mostly on specific statistics and specific platforms, like Facebook, while Turkle discusses how social media and technology are negatively affecting individuals face-to-face communication.

Fenton’s reading, The Internet and Social Networking, discusses how social networking has changed our society. Furthermore, the article touches on how individual’s focus most of their attention on social media sites rather than reading news articles online. The article states, “Digital media, and the Internet in particular, are transforming our means of gathering information and communicating with each other and contributing to both these practices through creative production.” I strongly agree with this statement. Even though many people may assume that you have to stay as professional and off social media as possible when in a work environment, it is so interesting how much more effective it is to use social media platforms. If you ask social media users where they get their news from, most of them would probably say from social media. I personally use my Facebook newsfeed or Snapchat News to get the latest trending information. It is much easier than surfing the web or waiting until 6 pm to watch the news.

The article also states, “social media have been invested with the ability to facilitate the development of strong relations with family members and friends and weaker relations with a range of acquaintances.” I personally disagree with this statement because I feel like social media allows me to gain relations with more acquaintances. I already have my everyday conversations with my close family members and friends, but social media lets me observe what other people are doing in the world. In other words, I am able to recognize that an acquaintance of mine is abroad in Madrid right now, whereas without social media I would only know where my close friends and family members are.

          Fenton believes that social media is changing our job industry and society in general. She mentions that when individuals are using the Internet they spend most of that time on social media. Although this is a voice of concern, she also mentions that it has caused an adjustment in the society. In other words, people have adjusted to this culture and it has become the norm. However, this new technology adjustment has caused individuals to develop fewer close relationships because there are fewer efforts being made and more distractions from their devices.            The second reading, Stop Googling. Let’sTalk., by Turkle discusses how technology is negatively affecting face-to-face communication. Additionally, the conversations that occur in person are becoming surface level because of the distractions on individual’s devices. The article states, “Conversations are kept relatively light, on topics where people feel they can drop in out.” People aren’t getting the attention they deserve because the people they attempt to tell a story to are too distracted on their phones. The article also discusses how devices are also being used to waste time. For example, I look down at my phone when I have nothing better to do. I mostly choose to do this when I am left alone at a table temporarily while my friend is in the bathroom or if I am walking to class alone at my college campus. I don’t think that this is a bad thing because it doesn’t bother anybody else, however it does distract me from the real world that surrounds me. Instead of enjoying the scenery I choose to look down at my phone.

The article also talks about how teenagers from this generation want to create new rules relating to technology for their children. One 15-year-old complained that he wishes his parents didn’t allow him to have his phone at the kitchen table. He followed that statement by explaining that when he has children he is going to make sure that everyone’s devices are set aside. That way, the family will be forced to have interactions with one another rather than worrying about all of the distractions from technology. It is interesting to read an article from this perspective because I mostly only read information about how technology is negatively affecting individuals interpersonal relationships.          I find both Fenton and Turkle’s readings compelling because they offer new information about how technology is changing our world. Furthermore, they both mention that interpersonal relationships are changing because technology is distracting people’s true personas. I believe that the best way to fix this problem is to gain more knowledge and become more present when you are in the real world. Instead of focusing on the social media posts that you haven’t checked yet, have a real conversation with the person sitting next to you. These small interactions may change your view and could potentially be the start of something new.

Media Manipulation Reflection

  • How do gender and race tie into the processes described in this document? Why is it important in understanding media manipulation?

It is very important to understand media manipulation because it paints a picture for how individuals see the media. In order to understand media manipulation one must have a definition. The article states, “media manipulation may contribute to decreased trust of mainstream media, increased misinformation, and further radicalization.” The article also tied gender and race into the article by discussing how sexism and racism is shown on the media. They used the term ‘trolls’ to explain a category of individuals. For example they stated, “trolls have a history of manipulating the media to call out hypocrisies and hysterias, learning early on how to target public figures and organizations to amplify their efforts through mainstream media.” In addition, these individuals manipulate the media by making racist and sexist commentary.

In addition to the minority groups, the article mentions how white supremacist and white nationalist groups are being promoted on the web in hope to recruit new members. Furthermore, these individuals are manipulating individuals to believe that they are on top of the hierarchy so others either follow in their footsteps or underneath them. It is scary how controlling our society is through the media and how much manipulation individuals have on one another. This article made me realize that there is always going to be media manipulation on the web, but it is up to us to trust and control what we see and hear.

 

Meme Reflection

I have always loved analyzing memes. In fact, most of my time spent on Facebook is sending memes back and forth to my friends. I would say that I have a lot of experience with memes because they have become a societal norm. In other words, many individuals believe that memes ‘lighten the mood’ and draw more attention because they are very short and many times comical.  I believe that memes are a great way to make a touchy topic, like politics, less risky. Furthermore, a lot of memes times are sarcastic or humorous, which makes the topic easier to discuss because people don’t take them as personal. In addition, memes are a great way to discuss political messaging because the pictures have few words. This allows users to analyze the picture more. I also think that adding visuals to a political message is smart because it makes the viewer less attached to the writing and more inclined to observe the picture that is posted.

Privacy Dialogues Reflection

Before this course, I would post information on Facebook without thinking about how easily accessible it was for unknown users. After interviewing my mother on the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, analyzing other classmates interviews, reading articles on this topic, and reflecting on my own opinions, I have come up with new thoughts and beliefs on this topic.

In the article titled: The Cambridge Analytica Scandal written by Tom Warren stated, “Facebook says Cambridge Analytica data collection affected nearly twice as many users as previously thought.” It is interesting that this scandal was a lot more severe than people expected.

I learned a lot after completing the privacy dialogue interview with my mother. My mom made a lot of great points throughout the interview. She stated that she has always been very careful with what she posts on Facebook. She also has never worried because she never posts political or private information that she doesn’t want to get exposed. In other words, she doesn’t post information that she doesn’t want users to not know about. This is a way for her to avoid the awkwardness or discriminatory comments from other Facebook users. In addition, she doesn’t feel that she needs to delete her Facebook because she doesn’t have any information on there that can’t be made public.

I also learned from other interviews that I listened to. Many of the interviewees made similar comments as my mother. Although,I listened to an interview from a father who never used Facebook and he seemed a lot more cautious and scared than other users. I am curious if this was only because she wasn’t familiar with how Facebook works, but it would be interesting to see the difference in thought between current Facebook users and non-Facebook users.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/10/17165130/facebook-cambridge-analytica-scandal