Tag Archives: Social media

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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Filed under Miscellany


Brad King: The Appalachian Teach

An interesting blog with a unique insight from a digital media professor and journalist associated with Ball State University

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September 2, 2013 · 3:42 pm

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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Blown Away (in the best way) by Google Hangouts


While I consider myself to be pretty technologically savvy, there are always dark corners and unexplored alleys of my social media landscape.  I was thrust into one of these new places this morning as my computer started ringing, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Flipping around from link to link, I noticed quickly a box that said “Bert would like to start a video chat with you” on my Google homepage.  While I knew video chatting technology existed, I was unaware of this Google Hangouts feature.  (I’ll also admit that I’m not a big Skyper or video chatter … so most of this is new to me.)  Since I absolutely adore Bert and haven’t spoken in two years, I decided that I needed to figure out what to do postehaste!  I clicked on the link and had to download/install a little program, and I was worried for a moment that this process might take a long time.  It didn’t.  In fact, within a minute’s time, the video chat was initializing.  A window with my face popped up, and noticing that the angle of my laptop made my double chin a bit pronounced, I had to slightly adjust my animated “selfie”. 

On the screen the words appeared, “Waiting for others to join the conversation.”  This lasted a few moments, and then there it was … my friend!  How amazing!  We spent four years in school together, side by side.  We were the peas in the proverbial pod.  We had loads of good times and have shared wonderful moments of life together.  Since this happened years ago, we formulated our friendship back in “pre-cell phone” and “pre-social media” times.  Granted, it was on the cusp of the technological movement, but I wasn’t particularly an early adopter.  Then we graduated (and by design of the jobs that we would take), so we would never live near each other again.  Life went on … separately. 

But then something amazing happened … technology.  Cell phones, email … better yet Facebook.  We started being able to connect more and more.  This was all good; in fact, great.  But then this morning … we (I) crossed into yet more new and more wonderful territory.  Thousands of miles away … I could see his smiling face again.  See the emotions.  Tell our old jokes … the ones without words.  The ones with just a look, a smile, a pause, a glimmer in the eye.  I could show my kids, my life, my cat, my whatever I wanted.

Why am I rambling about any of this?  Because this is the beauty of social media … and the reason we will continue to strive to make more.  The connection, the love, the togetherness, the realtime.  In a word … the social.   

I’m writing these blogs because of a class that studies social media, the social internet.  Some of this study can seem clinical, numeric, calculating, diagnostic … but at its core, no matter how much computing, machinery, technology that we find on top of it … it is messily, chaotically, wondrously, beautifully, fundamentally human.  It is “social” media.

Thanks for phoning me on “the Google” this morning, Bert.  Love you, man. You have no idea how good it was to see you again. =)

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Filed under Tools


11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America

I’m not sure exactly when this article on  was printed, but it provides a nice “sitz-im-leben” of today’s social media practices in the US.

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August 24, 2013 · 4:42 pm

Trying Hootsuite …. or should I say “HoosGotADHD”


As part of my exercise in social media immersion (being a new blogger/twit?, it feels like social media waterboarding), I’ve jumped into Hootsuite.  My first reaction can best be summed up by a quote from the movie UHF, “You get to drink from the … firehose!”  Wow … that’s a whole heck of a lot of social media in one place.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it, and someday I’ll think this is the greatest invention in the history of inventions .. but for now, I look like the GIF of a cat on crack watching a tennis match.  (That may be a tad overstatement for humorous effect, but I do still feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to look yet.)

With that ringing endorsement, I’m sure you’ll all want to jump right in.  If so, you can find them at hootsuite.com.

 

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Social Media! … and so it begins!


Studying the social internet in Tech 637 at Purdue University.  This class is designed for us to be exposed to social media concepts, engaged in social media research, and engorged/engulfed by social media immersion. 

This blog will be dedicated to exploring social media in five ways:

  • Reflections on various class readings
  • Links to interesting blog posts
  • Evaluations of social media tools evaluation
  • Ideas, thoughts, opinions, commentary, and general miscellany on social media topics.
  • Humor and occasional sassiness
  • And all the other loose ends, questions, and fears about this journey along the way.

Just in case you were wondering, that list had six things in it.  I’m just going to say up front that math is not my strong suit.  And I’m lactose intolerant … but that’s for another blog.

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