Communication: Burden or Gift?

Each of this semester’s texts would be drastically different had the characters been connected in terms of global accessibility as we are today. The main characters in I Am Legend, and The Tortilla Curtain would have benefitted from connectivity and access to multiple communication mediums. In each scenario isolation was an obstacle to positive progression and limited the main characters’ development.

While Neville needs human connection the most he experiences is a sudden disconnect with society. His only form of contact is with the pseudo-vampires who are hunting him. He, if anyone as apparent sole survivor, needed the ability to contact people. Instead he lost his access to technology. He experienced something that our generation wouldn’t know how to handle. In an age of dependence on instant knowledge and availability, many would have a hard time coping with a sudden change in their reality. If the tables were turned and our generation last all known ways of communication, it seems to be safe to assume that our adaptation would be slower and much less resourceful due to our reliance to electronic data.   Had it been written today there would be so many more aspects discussed to encompass all of the extra things we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Consider if Neville had the Internet access that we know. He would be able to stay in touch with the last humans or do extensive research on the condition of the infected. In my opinion, the book would be worse if it were coming from a modern viewpoint. The technology in our lives makes for cluttered unproductivity. It would be too easy for Neville and the story would lose the majority of its meaning. He is alone and that is the most vital part. He must rely only on himself. The entire dynamic would be thrown and the ending would not be as striking. You would lose the switch from being the normal and in the right to being the ostracized and feared.

Tortilla Curtain is similar in the respect that the main characters would be at much less of a disadvantage if they could connect to a greater amount of people. If Candido and America could contact their families while they were in America or their friends in the U.S. when they were in Mexico they could avoid all of their misfortune. It would have saved them all of their time and money if they knew where they were going or could find out where they would be better off. This book differs from I Am Legend; I do not think that it would be drastically different if it were written this versus 1995 when it was written. It was surprisingly relevant to today. The book reads as if it were written in modernity. The social structure outlined in the book is also very relevant to the immigrant-yuppie issues now. America and Candido were very limited in their options. They struggle to break out of the socioeconomic strata they are locked in. Their lack of communication options kept them from elevating poverty to a middle class stature.  The text accurately reflects the importance of communication in economic success.

In conclusion, it is apparent that the development of communication has come to the point where it is now a necessity to daily life and any regression in communication would be an impediment to further development. The texts in this course have strong thematic times to communication and its growing prevalence.

-Lindsay

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Facebook Poetry -Heather Grace Stewart

This is a site I came across when searching for poetry related to Facebook. Most of the poems are goofy and entertaining.

http://heathergracestewart.com/2009/01/04/a-couple-silly-poems-about-facebook/

Five Thousand Friends

Just six clicks away
from five thousand “friends.”

No clue what today is,
or what’s on CNN.

I should really get dressed,
Or at least shave my pits.
But with all these new friends,
I can’t stop the clicks.

Glued to the screen
like some kind of affliction.
Welcome to Facebook:
the world’s
latest addiction.

-Heather Grace Stewart

-Lindsay

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Flourishing Artwork

“Few art forms have had their obituary written as many times as poetry, yet it is now thriving again – and it’s that supposed enemy of high culture, the Internet, that is behind the renaissance”-Esther Walker

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/poetry/article6044758.ece

Facebook has surpassed its initial standing as a simple social networking site. It is now a modern medium for artistic expression. Historically, new mediums generally arise alongside their cultural counterparts. In the Renaissance era decadent and grandiose perspectives were the primary focus.  New artistic techniques such as, Rembrandt’s stylistic etchings and the rising Rococo influence in high culture dominated the time period.

Rembrandt Etching

http://www.masterworksfineart.com/inventory/1641

Rococo

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://va312aslifilis.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/david-horatii.jpg&imgrefurl=http://va312aslifilis.wordpress.com/2011/01/&usg=__WAZrCuDiFLA5q48XqaRHH_j8-qo=&h=648&w=833&sz=77&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=-iRcDbyEmJGDPM:&tbnh=161&tbnw=207&ei=4CK6TdduzIKzBsfp-bUB&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drococo%2Bart%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D666%26tbm%3Disch0%2C241&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=304&vpy=230&dur=388&hovh=161&hovw=207&tx=118&ty=127&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0&biw=1280&bih=666

Although, Facebook is viewed as a low culture communication devise by many modern sociologists it has brought a unique outlet for both the artist and the viewing audience. There is now an open dialogue between both. Much like the previously discussed Renaissance styles, Facebook has branched out and now is exploring new and exciting ventures. Internet can be best described as the modern “rebirth”. It has revitalized many artistic mediums and is one microcosm that has assisted in this resurgence of creativity. Many argue that the Internet has killed creativity but it has opened up an entire forum for upcoming artists to gain exposure. They are no longer constricted to a once limited demographic but can now reach past multiple thresholds previously impermeable. Musicians, painters, poets, photographers etc. use these networking sites in ways unforeseen by creators. Mark Zuckerberg probably did not have poetry forums in mind when creating Facebook; however, due to it being a social networking site public interest took over, and thus, said poetic forums came about. The fluid nature of the site lends itself to the creativity of its users, as well as being a catalyst to ever changing growth and adaptation.

Facebook has also brought about its own forms of artistic expression. For example, Graffiti is an application that can be used for entertainment, self-expression, or other forms of electronic imaging. One plus in the Facebook-artistry merger is that the “comment” option enables a mass conversation and thus the artwork is able to flourish past the artists original intent. Unfortunately this also means that they may face negative criticism otherwise not credible in the artistic world; thus everyone becomes a self-proclaimed aficionado. The “like” function, although seemingly positive, ultimately convolutes the arts integrity for no artist enjoys empty praises. If this goes unchecked and there is no true critic art may fall to the common. However, if Facebook adapts to this trend, much like Wikipedia did when they began to implement authorized editors, art can continue to flourish through this new medium. But then again, Facebook is not a formal art gallery. It is, and always will be a social networking site, above all other functions.

-Lindsay

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Facebook- A Generation Defined

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7BqDIdNnno

Facebook has become a powerful word as of late. Love it, hate it, it doesn’t care, you’ve heard of it. Most youth would be lost if it vanished. Perhaps one of the most powerful companies in the world, checking in at a solid 500+ million strong, based on statistics generated by Facebook. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest, right in between India, and our United States.

It’s a colossal empire, so what? How is Facebook affecting our daily lives, our children’s upbringing, and our planet as a whole? Many would argue that Facebook causes teenagers and young adults to spend a great amount of time behind a computer, that would otherwise be spent doing studies, or outside; this is a perfectly reasonable argument, as even in my own life, I can recognize the great time-sink that Facebook can be for college students. There are those who might argue that Facebok can be used as a stalker’s paradise, allowing unnecessary crimes to be committed. The counter to this argument, of course, is that Facebook has a number of degrees of privacy settings, allowing for very strict, private account.

Looking at the positives of Facebook, the amount of global connectivity that it provides is unmatched in our society today. This is one of the most important things, in my opinion, that Facebook has done for our world and it’s inhabitants; connecting friends and family from across the globe, in the amount of time it takes to open a web browser is unprecedented. During the recent tragedy in Japan, many survivors were able to contact their loved ones quickly, via Facebook, to put their worries at bay, a feat difficult before our globalization era.

It’s undeniable that Facebook has both pros and cons, but I’d like to make the argument that Facebook is a tool of progression. Technology is the way of the future, and Facebook is bridging the technological gap for many people; it’s incentive for the computer-illiterate to give it a shot, for people to become more proficient in computers, and it is generating curiosity about technology amongst youth. Facebook is capable of connecting hundreds of millions of people, including those just down the street, or literally on the other side of the world. It provides social connectivity, builds, mends, and sometimes destroys friendships. Love it, hate it, Facebook is progression.

– Luke

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Generation Gap

There continues to be advances in technology every year and at the rates they have been going, the technology we have now may not look anything like the technology we will have in 10 years. Many new things that have come about with the growth of computers and technology are the capabilities that each of the those have gained. This includes all of the the social networking that goes on but also includes surfing the internet.

The advances have had negative affects in my view because of the growing generation gap between our elders and the generation that thrives on technology today. The article (http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/14-media/212-new-research-explores-how-technology-drives-generation-gap) goes on to state how with each new generation, the amount of technology and communications necessities doubles. Since there have been several generations since World War 2, the number has quadrupled in how many different applications people use on a daily basis. This gap has created a differentiating view on what is a desirable lifestyle.

There have been a large amount of people becoming more technologically advanced from the “Elders” gerneration. This generation comes before the baby boomers. The difference between the outlooks of the young and the old is that they differ on the their view of neccessity. The older generations do not see why people post everything about themselves and why people give up their privacy so easily. Younger generations see this as opportunities to meet new people. There has been a change in how people live with the new generation and the fact that younger generations feel as if they need technology baffles older generations who lived fine without it 50 years ago. I think this change in view is kind of monumental because it shows just how people have become dependent on the technology when we once were. Regardless that it wasn’t around when elder generations grew up, I do not think that generations way of thinking should be lost once they all die out.

I think the idea of living simply shouldn’t be lost in all the advances of technology and social networking. I think their views of privacy and keeping to yourself a little bit should not be forgotten because of the popularity of social networks like Facebook. I think there is a lot to learn from older generations but I worry that the old lifestyle that lasted for hundreds of years up until the tech boom could be forgotten with coming generations. These new generations will be bred on computers and being entangled in everyone’s everyday life that privacy and other simple living aspects may simply not mean anything anymore.

This video is a reiteration about what I said but in a little more detail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRhWsqdtkkw&feature=related

– Luke

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Cell Phones

Cell phones have become a major part of our lives. I personally know that my blackberry is permanently glued to my hand, and as I drive past other cars I see the same thing. From our last post we saw texting for teenagers is a constant flow that probably wont be slowed down by driving. When we are behind the wheel of a car we posses our lives and others in our hands, instead we choose to hold that phone in our hand instead.

The death toll due to driving has been climbing recently because of drivers being so dependent on their cell phones. Companies have developed blue-tooth devices to keep the drivers hands free so that they can devote more attention to the road. Blue- tooth devices have helped make a small but significant difference in the safety of drivers. California, in 2008, imposed a law forcing drivers to drop their phones and only use hands-free devices.  They have realized that the biggest problem isn’t necessarily whether your hands are on the wheel or holding the phone, its more about the distraction. Though they are trying to make a difference.

“Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.” (the University of Utah)

States have also imposed fines and tickets for if you are caught texting and driving, yet people continuously do it. Even though people know the dangers of texting and talking on the phone, they continue to do it. Is our conversations so important that we are willing to take our lives or others?

Warning this video is pretty sad. It shows how serious texting and talking on the phone is, and how insignificant our conversations are. The second video gives some astounding facts about texting and driving.

Our conversations really are not as important as we think they are. Miami University lost a student and a member of ROTC because of texting and driving earlier this year. Some people realize that their texting conversations weren’t as important after this tragedy, others still haven’t gotten the point.

I personally know my mother talks on the phone constantly for her job, she also has to drive to many different customers which results in her talking on the phone while driving. I’ve gotten her a bluetooth device so she can be a little safer, but I know that she still isn’t completely safe. I have been in the car when she gets distracted by her work and phone conversations. I try to point it out to her, but she thinks these things only really occur to teenagers. Yes texting and driving accidents are more prominent amongst teens but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to adults.

So next time you get in your car to drive just down the street, do you really need to text a friend “hey whats up?”? Replying “yeah” could wait until your stopped at a red light or your home.

-Sydney

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Textaholics

The video can be found from the link above.

Looking up videos concerning texting, I assumed the majority would involve the dangers of texting and driving and cover stories of angry parents fed up with their child’s connectivity. While searching for a worthwhile video, I managed to find one with the most intriguing and possibly the funniest title, “Teens Addicted to Texting? Real-Life Textaholic Cases Exposed”. Sounds serious. I want to point out before analysis that throughout the video’s entirety—three minutes and twenty-four seconds; the background noise was made up of people texting, a clear and impactful choice for the video.

The teenagers highlighted in the video text all day, all the time. The first girl, Reina, is at the young age of 13, has a record of 14,528 sent texts a month. According to the video (which sited its source as Nielsen Mobile), the average 13-17 year old sends over 1,700 texts a month. Curious to see how I compared to them, I checked my own texts sent for this month—a low 1,230. Luckily I’m not in that age group; otherwise I’d be a disgrace. I don’t think I even had a cell phone until I was 14 or 15.  The number of texts made me wonder what trivial conversations these young teens could possibly have with each other. She stated her normal texts were “hi, hey, oh my gosh, I think he likes me”. Pretty compelling conversation. Getting that same conversation about a thousand times? I don’t know if I’d even want to have a cell phone. According to Reina’s parents she does enjoy actual face-to-face conversations with people, and is very involved with school, which I find a bit strange. When does she even have time to text? Who knows. Reina, while being interviewed said that texting is an escape from her parents, and she found comfort in ‘talking’ to her friends. Luckily enough, Reina’s fingers get to take a rest when she goes to her dad’s house where there is no signal. I hope as she matures that she realizes that sending that many texts probably isn’t necessary.

Let’s move onto the second girl, Rachel. Her record number of texts for one month?  36, 666. I did the math—that’s one text for every 84 seconds (a minute and 24 seconds). I literally cannot comprehend how or who she manages to text so much. To further astound viewers, she shows that she can text upside-down, behind her back, and without looking. I can’t decide if that’s ridiculously cool or one of the saddest things I’ve seen. Her parents, just as Reina’s state that she is very involved in school. I however, can’t understand how that is possible. She says that she even texts people sitting next to her in class. Is that really necessary. One text every 84 seconds? I imagine she has a hard time paying attention in class. Or she is one hell of a multi-tasker. Rachel says that she will wake up in the morning, look at her outbox, and see that she sent texts in her sleep that she doesn’t remember—is that even healthy? However, she does get one day of technological rest. Her family is Orthodox Jewish, which requires for them to stop using electricity at sundown on Fridays (until sundown on Saturdays). I can only hope that the girls realize that texting may be fun, but it is not necessary to send that many texts messages a month

I personally think that I text a lot. However, after watching this video I’m a bit wary about the amount that I text. Not only that but I’m worried for the kids a little younger than me that are so technologically tuned in—especially the ones texting a ludicrous amount. A line that was said in the video really stood out to me pertaining to teens that are “physically present but emotionally absent”. I know for a fact that I have been in that ‘state’ when talking to friends or family, and I don’t like the way that it sounds. In fact, it freaks me out a bit. While I don’t think that texting should be limited for each person, I think that some teens may need to slow down, and realize that there is more to their lives than texting.

-Rae

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