For this week’s readings, I began to examine my own connectedness and my personal use of technology both within my classroom and outside of it. I didn’t expect to do such a self-evaluation until the interlude in Networked: The New Social Operating System began to analyze a day in the life of an average hyperconnected technology user.
The day described in the reading came across as very connected, yet wasn’t up to the level of how often I use personal technology throughout the day. This actually made me begin to worry about the amount of time that I spend connected to a device. Because of this, I began to reflect on an earlier section of the reading where the authors described the debate surrounding our connected society. Are we too connected and is it bad for us as a whole?
When I was reading this section, I was reminded of a picture I had seen a while back.
The argument that technology is making us antisocial is an old one. But when you think about our past, society has always rebelled against new technologies and general societal shifts. The idea that using a cellphone all the time makes us antisocial isn’t one that’s truly valid. If you’re on your phone, you’re most likely being social. Yes, you could be playing a game or reading the news. But you could also be responding to email or messaging. Our technology is making us more social and more connected than ever before, just removing some of the face-to-face requirements of previous communication.
The authors pointed out that today, we are each the center of our own network that we have created. We use these networks to fill our own social needs. We change groups and change platforms based on our needs at the time. We’re becoming more flexible, our groups are more diverse, and our social needs are being met in ways they couldn’t be before.
I worry about being too connected, but the points the authors raise lead me to wonder if instead I’m just meeting my social needs through many different groups and support systems. Though I’m generally always on some form of technology, much of it is related to work, gathering information about politics or the world around me, or communicating with different social networks. Is it too much at times? Probably. But it’s also the direction our society seems to be headed.