My First Encounters with the Internet

It’s difficult for me to clearly remember the first time I used a PC and the Internet. I was very young I remember that much. My dad came home one day all excited about a new computer he bought. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever. But thinking about it in comparison to today’s computers is quite comical. It was so large, and I don’t mean the screen. The back of the monitor almost extended the length of the desk we had it on. My earliest memory of the Internet involved email. My mom went away on a trip and I was missing her so my dad came up with the brilliant idea that I email her. We set up my own account and everything. My mind was blown that we could communicate this way. It made me feel so grown up and smart, definitely qualifying it as my first major accomplishment, being able to type letters to my mom and send them to her in a matter of seconds (may have been minutes at the time; I don’t recall how fast the Internet was then). With this situation, the displacement theory plays a role. Although I liked hearing my mom’s voice on the phone, email was just so much “cooler”. Therefore, I began to email her more than call her. I can’t quite recall my first mistake using the Internet. I think I may have brought a drink into the computer room while writing emails and my dad freaked out. Other than that, my mind just can’t go back that far. 

These experiences stick in my mind because of how incredible the technology seemed at the time, especially to a child. I wasn’t able to fully grasp the technicalities of it all, and therefore was even more amazed than my parents. It affected my outlook on computer integrated learning skills taught at school. For example, in the third grade we learned to type. Since I had my own computer at home (shared with the entire family), I already had some practice and it made me even more determined and excited to learn. I wanted to show my parents that I could type like an adult, so I took that section of the class seriously. I ended up being one of the fastest typers in the class. Now computers and other technology mediums such as iPads and Kindles are regularly integrated into schooling systems. I constantly use my computer in college for scholastic purposes, whereas in high school and below it was mostly just play/leisure time. Don’t get me wrong, I still spend time online shopping and using social media, but it’s declined since high school. Having grown up with the new technologies of the Internet and PC’s, my mindset on technology was positive, even though I didn’t understand it completely. 

Overall, the Internet and the medium to which we utilize it have strongly influenced my decisions and practices in life. I’ve always used Google, at least from what I can remember. I’m definitely dependent on both for new information/scholastic purposes, leisure time, and everything in between. This coincides with the media system dependency theory. Although, it’s an asymmetrical relationship, I depend on my computer and the Internet on a daily basis, whereas they don’t depend on me to survive. I honestly can’t imagine life without the  Internet and the computers that allow us to utilize it. 

Keeping up with New Technologies

I strongly agree with Daniel H. Wilson. He has several good points dealing with how we cope with the outbreak of new technologies. One of these subconscious strategies involves assimilation. I personally experienced this when my boyfriend bought a touch screen computer. I was so used to using a mouse (or mouse area built into my Mac), that I didn’t realize I could just touch the screen and get to my wanted online destination. Once I got the hang of touching the screen I expected a touch keyboard to pop up, like my mobile device, but it did not. My brain was so used to using my own computer and phone, that this odd combination of the two threw me off completely. I still don’t have the hang of his computer and only use it if I forget mine when we are together. 

According to The Terrifying Truth About New Technology, I fall under the stereotypical young person who adapts to new technologies fairly quickly, such as social media and its capabilities. For example, I use Instagram throughout the week and follow the hashtag trends that correspond with pictures I post. Examples of these include: man crush Monday (#mcm), woman crush Wednesday (#wcw), and throwback Thursday (#tbt). This is definitely something that mostly younger people participate in, give or take some middle age adults, who may be influenced by their children. These social media cites aren’t necessarily super new to society, but their trends are ever changing, which solidifies the theories in the article. The older we get, the more we fall behind with new technologies and trends, unless we force ourselves to keep up. 

In my opinion, each generation is different from the predecessor, causing a difference in communication styles across generations, as well. One way middle age adults choose to keep up with the times and technology is learning through their children. Many young adults and teenagers possess the lingo and knowledge of the current time period, and parents can adapt through them. It’s different when talking about older generations (not necessarily middle aged people) due to excitement of future interactions. When people are in their 20s and have a lot of life ahead of them, new technologies offer possibilities for the future, making life easier or more socially integrated. Older people who don’t have as many years left, probably don’t look at new technologies as new possibilities, but rather as a new, more complicated device that they don’t need to survive, or care to learn how to use. Also, I feel that many young adults use new technologies to connect with people, some of which are new people who hold the possibility for platonic/professional or  romantic relationships. Older people aren’t usually interested in new friends, and are satisfied with those around them. 

I generally agree with the premises of the article. For the most part it is inevitable that as we grow older we will become less attached to the latest and greatest innovations in technology. Sure, you can try to keep up and force yourself to learn how to use each technology medium, but eventually you aren’t going to want to mess with it. You’re just going to want to live and be content with the technology you already know how to use. 

Blogging

My experience with blogging is slim. I’ve only had to blog for one other class and the main focus was feminism and women in society. I thoroughly enjoyed blogging in that instance, due to the fact that the subject interests me greatly, and I was able to convey my opinions and thoughts without question. This online form of a diary is healthy for people to get their feelings, thoughts, and opinions out, as a way of venting. Of course, there are other types of blogging that are for scholastic purposes, such as case studies. There is an article written by Darren Rowse on this website that goes into detail about these different forms: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/11/29/20-types-of-blog-posts-battling-bloggers-block/. Overall, blogging can fulfill many needs and wants, but can also be a dangerous medium. 

Blogging affects our society just like any form of social media. Now-a-days, there are multiple news stories on a daily basis that revolve around social media, some centered on celebrities interactions on these online formats. There are negative and positive affects that occur with blogging, some which can certainly create conflict/problems. One negative impact is blatantly explained in the Washington Post article by Kathleen Parker, which talks about how political figures are being defaced by their online enemies. Another negative affect has to do with people in high-standing positions. For example, a PR employee recently got fired for a racist tweet on Twitter, she could have very well blogged about it and made it public. It may have taken longer for the blog post to get out into the media world than the tweet, but nevertheless it could’ve damaged her career opportunities just the same. Positives revolving around blogging are as I stated before, usage as a healthy outlet for people to openly express themselves either publicly or privately. Therefore, I think blogging is a good thing in the sense of giving the “power to publish”to everyone, as long as they are careful what they make private vs. public. 

This medium for online expression will most definitely increase as time passes. Our society is becoming more and more technology centered and advanced. As people continue to practice relying on media/apps, they will also begin to rely on blogging instead of diaries or journals. It’s like Twitter and Facebook, but with an unlimited word count and more appropriate medium for people to express their opinions, again as long as they are being careful with what they make public/private. 

Media System Dependency Theory and the Future of Television

My prediction of the future of TV revolves around the media system dependency theory and how it corresponds with different types of shows. We rely on TV for uses and gratifications, and television shows rely on viewer numbers to see if they can survive. For example, a new comedy show may have just aired its pilot episode. The number of those who tuned in, along with how many watch the second episode directly correspond with how long the show will last. The dependency in this situation is almost completely symmetrical and falls under the solitary play dimension, in the sense that you are entertaining yourself alone with the new comedy show. It could also be categorized under the social play dimension. For instance, you could use the material you watched in interactions or conversations with others in a social setting. Due to the popularity of shows made for entertainment purposes, the future will continue to revolve around convenience and time shifting in watching the shows. This could change the initial viewer statistics of the first airing of a new show, making the line fuzzy as to whether a show has really taken off or is a dud. People will practice “catch up programming” even more so then they do today, as a result of more options in the future regarding this aspect. 

The theory takes a different twist when looking at local news stations. These programs don’t necessarily heavily rely on the number of viewers. Yet, the viewers heavily rely on news stations. It allows people to see what’s currently happening in their town, along with the rest of the world. Therefore, the relationship between the audience and news programs is asymmetrical. The dimension closest to this type of TV “show” is social understanding, allowing people to learn about the world around them. I don’t see a huge change happening with these in the future. People will always rely on news to get information. The only possible outcome I see occurring revolves around more people using news station apps that allow them to find out about breaking news as it occurs, causing a decrease in viewer’s of these programs. 

My predictions of the future of infomercials and shows that promote/sell merchandise involve more interaction. Instead of having to call a number, you may be able to text a number, or even use your remote to place an order. The entire process will become much simpler in my eyes. The media dependency theory relates to this through an asymmetrical relationship between viewers and shopping programs. The sellers depend on consumers to buy their product, but a large portion of people could care less and, in turn, change the channel. This could possibly cause a decrease in how many of these programs survive in the future. The dimension that most relates to this topic is self-understanding. The people on the television trying to sell you their product make you believe that you need it, causing you to learn something new about yourself. You may have never realized that you needed that gaudy necklace, or “miracle” acne medicine. As I stated before, the future of these programs on television will incorporate more interaction and convenience. 

The media system dependency theory directly relates to television and the multitude of different programs it provides. I looked at three different types of programming and how the theory applies to them, along with how they will change in the future. I’m aware there are more types of shows than what’s discussed above, but I wanted to hit a variety that allowed me to fully discuss the theory and its dimensions.