Back to School

First, I have to apologize for my absence from the classwork.  There was some confusion about what work was expected of me between now and the last post on this blog.  So today, I have spent much of my time trying to fit the reading and work of multiple missed days, into a few hours.  Unfortunately, working at a hastened pace also means that there will inevitably be some points/topics that are missed.  In order to compensate for this, I’ll put up a few additional posts over the weekend; with the focus being on the missed material and discussions.

Now, moving forward:

The main focus of this week’s class readings, is Twitter.  This is a subject that I knew nothing about until over the Christmas break.  Although I had gathered a working idea about what Twitter does and how it functions in our society, I did not know that it could be used to gather and distribute information beyond what Kanye West (or another current Pop star) had for breakfast.  Interestingly enough, my crash course in Twitter functionality came from my middle-aged aunts and uncles at our annual Christmas party.  Not only did they explain what a “hashtag” was and how it should be used, they also informed me that I could use Twitter to follow events, in addition to people that are not making front page news.

As the Christmas get-together continued, I noticed how different it was from family gatherings in the past.  6 years ago, every person under 25 had their nose in some sort of digital device. But this year…even the adults were surfing the web, selling items on eBay, and sending e-gift cards to the people they forgot to buy for.  Looking around the room, it become apparent that there is no escape from the digital revolution.  If it is not a job requirement(as some of my relatives claimed their constant smart phone use to be) than it is required simply to feel like a member of society. My participation in this class is often done with dragged heels and gritted teeth, but after the scene at my family gathering; I began to see that this class is an effective way to integrate with the growing phenomenon of digital media.

After leaving our family’s Christmas get-together, the new found tech information quickly dissolved from my brain.  I had previously decided to refrain from checking any of my online accounts over break(a big mistake as noted in the beginning of this blog), and I was definitely not going to begin a new one.  It was only this summer that I acquired a Facebook page, and between email, Facebook, and the online requirements for school; I am frequently contemplating a Thoreau-esque retreat into the Pennsylvania wilds.  However after reading the articles provided by Dr. Martin, and remembering what my family members said about Twitter, I find myself wondering if it would be an effective way to communicate in a world that continuously demands more of each individual.

A standard page-length blog post is fine every now and then, on the slower days; but trying to keep track of daily posts from even a small group of close acquaintances can make any person feel recurrent waves of anxiety.  The idea of having a person’s thoughts confined to 140 characters and categorized according to subject matter, seems to me, like a welcome method of reducing the modern disease known as information overload.

The article about the number of users switching from Facebook to Twitter is not surprising because of the reasons previously mentioned.  Although I am a little dismayed that the social media I am just now getting used to is being abandoned by so many, I am also seriously relieved; because maintaining a Facebook page has felt like a chore to me since the beginning.  I will probably never be an active contributor to digital media websites, simply because I prefer to interface in the real world, but Twitter seems like an excellent solution for keeping tabs on the constantly changing digital discussion.

If I were to put it in a near Twitter-length conclusion: I’m ready to get back to work(and catch up).  I suppose I will get use to the growing necessity of digital interaction, eventually. Afterall, if my Baby-Boomer relatives can wrap there heads around a tweet, there’s no reason a kid from the Nintendo-generation can’t.

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One thought on “Back to School

  1. Josh,

    Thank you for your posting here and for your honesty in catching up. What you are actually beginning to imagine is what living in this world is really turned our communicative processes into as we consider either our family or the society at large. Your final comment about being a Nintendo person is important. For many, technology has been a toy rather than a tool. Learning to use it as a tool, much like those in the 16th century learned the printing press or the pencil or eventually the ball point pen, in each case it was the matter of using something to make communication more accessible.

    All the various platforms, softwares, or other things you might consider have a purpose and an audience and as such, they are rhetorical. Thanks for your post.

    Dr Martin

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