Category Archives: Miscellany

Family Communication Studies


Stafford and Canary (2002) derived five relational maintenance strategies for marital resilience:

  1. ‘Positivity’ includes acting polite and cheerful, being nice, courteous, and upbeat during conversations, and avoiding criticism;
  2. ‘Openness’ involves discussing the relationship and sharing thoughts and feelings;
  3. ‘Assurances’ involves expressions of love, commitment, and in other ways implying the relationship has a future;
  4. ‘Social Networks’ concerns spending time with and including mutual friends and family in activities; and
  5. ‘Sharing Tasks’ refers to engaging in household chores as well as any tasks that may constitute the responsibilities of the couple.

While I’m not sure why they chose an acronym that spells PO ASS, these strategies provide some ideas for things we could do to help our relationships:

  • Greet your loved one warmly.
  • Talk about your dreams, aspirations, feelings, and/or insights.
  • Do something nice that says “I love you”.
  • Take some time to do something fun with your family or friends.
  • Ask if there is anything you could do to help make their life easier.
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How are college freshmen using the internet?


Data from St. Edward’s freshman orientation about technology use.

There is a fascinating infographic on how college freshmen are interacting with the internet from St. Edwards …

One of the things that I appreciate about this graphic is how well it illustrates the reality of media multiplexity (i.e. using multiple devices simultaneously to communicate) as well as the multimodality of digital communication.

Plus, figuring that I went to college with no computer, no cell phone, no internet, no email address, and just a Brother word processor to go in my closet … my have things changed! =)

Data from St. Edward's freshman orientation about technology use.

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Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone By NICK BILTON


Response to Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone By NICK BILTON

This past week a heartfelt-comedy video has been circling the interwebs.  The video chronicles the life of a comedienne living a hyperbolized life of friends with smart phone addiction.  Nick Bilton’s piece in the New York Times ponders the success and message of the video and makes a some conclusions (many of which are regarding the connection between media and food).

The question is “Why does it seem that people are obsessed with their phones and social media?”  I liked the piece, but I’d like to add a few more concepts to the discussion … namely Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE), and strong/weak ties.  These concepts have helped me recently parse the idea.

First, psychologist Abraham Maslow pointed out that one of the five major motivations of humanity is to be social (physical, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization).  Once our basic physical and safety needs are met, we are designed in such a way as to crave connection.  We are social beings; we need others … something that says I’m not alone.

Second, social science and communication researchers have given us the social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE). Basically this says that without other non-verbal cues present, we fill in the blanks about others with our own guesses about them.  In short, we tend to form idealized versions of “the other” through computer-mediated communication because we lack the immediate cues to tell us otherwise.  Our computer friends are the best friends because they are in part figments of our imagination.

Third, one sociological phenomenon is described as strong ties versus weak ties.  Basically, people have strong relationships and weak relationships … and we generally tend to maintain strong ties rather than develop weak ties.  This is the path of least resistance in relationship formation.

When I ask myself, “Why do people seem addicted to their smart phones and social media?”, these ideas give me at least a framework to approach the question:

  • People act this way with their phones because we have a deep urge to be socially connected.
  • People act this way because their online friends are the best friends that anyone could ever imagine … because they are somewhat imagined.
  • People act this way because it’s more comfortable to interact with the strong ties rather than interact with the weak-tied, scary world around them.

There is obviously more to this than these three … but these at least help me to think about the issue.

Okay … that’s enough rambling for the morning … I should probably put down my screen and enjoy some real-world Labor Day with my family. =)

http://nyti.ms/15lM0Rp

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boyd & Ellison (2007): Social Networking Sites: Definitions, History, and Scholarship


This seminal piece in computer-mediated communication was published the same year Facebook went public. It seeks to define social network sites, chronicle the history of SNSs, and catalogue research trends on the topic. The piece is one of the most oft-cited pieces on the subject. The definition is a good start, but it could stand to be expanded to reflect authorship and interactivity between users. The history of SNS between 1996 and 2007 is helpful, but much has changed since then … especially the multimodality of social media use with smart phones. Finally, the research section also outlines several important key trends, but many other trends have come along or expanded since then … included furtherance of Social Information Processing-related thoughts. On a related note, you should check out stuff written by Stephanie Tong if you ever get the chance. Just saying… =)

Boyd & Ellison 2007 Soc Net def hist schol

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Why Floundering is Good

This is a nice little article on the benefits of strategic floundering.  I’m both a teacher and a student at Purdue.  Floundering is what I do best. =)  The learning paradox is that you learn best when you know least what you’re doing … in theory! 

In all honesty, I’ve used this pedagogical technique quite a bit and to good effect.  As a learner, it can be a bit daunting and unsettling to experience being adrift, but it comes with great reward.  The key is trusting the process, not being abandoned, and reflection.  So go ahead, my friends, get lost!

 

p.s. perhaps this is the guiding principle to my social media immersion process this semester…? 😉

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August 22, 2013 · 1:07 pm