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. 

How technology is transforming classrooms

Throughout my schooling, technology has played an increasingly important role. In grade school projectors made learning certain subjects easier through the visuals presented. It also caused interaction with the students and the material, in the sense that we would have to go up to the front and underline certain things on the projector slides. Once I moved on to high school, PowerPoints became the popular teaching medium, until my junior year when SmartBoards were introduced into our schooling system. On one hand I liked the new technology, it brought back the interactivity of a projector, but with more capabilities. There were times when the boards wouldn’t be “calibrated” correctly, or would freeze up. Those issues ate up a lot of valuable class time, when we could have just used the marker-board/chalkboard. My experience with technology in high school took away from actually learning the material. SmartBoards were just the digital form of a marker-board with more abilities, but that malfunctioned more than not. The technologies applied at college, on the other hand, overall have enhanced my learning experience. For instance, BlackBoard has aided in stretching my learning abilities outside the classroom. It allows the professors to lecture in class, and then not have to necessarily handout homework, but post them online. It eliminates the excuse of “I lost my homework”, because you can go online and print it out as many times as needed, if it has to be printed. It puts the responsibility on the students, instead of the teacher. 

Massive Open Online Courses, support the advanced technology of today, in the sense of multitasking. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have allowed people to connect with others and multitask, creating more time for other things. The online classes allow these same antics. People can multitask while watching the class and connect with others. I had a hybrid class at IU two semesters back. We had to go to class two times a week and watch an online lecture once a week. The online lecture provided a section where you could chat with not only the professor, but also the other students in that class section. This demonstrates connectivity through technology. Although these classes may provide positive outcomes, I personally believe they only reiterate the laziness of our society. Coming to class gets students out of bed and up for the day, whereas online classes allow students to stay in bed and watch the lecture. It also dehumanizes traditional education. Sure, you see the professor, but you don’t necessarily get to fully interact with them, unless you have to actually go to the classroom for an exam. I feel as though going to class and the fear of being called on, forces me to prepare for that class in advance. Online classrooms don’t necessarily enforce this fear, again creating the lazy approach. The article by Laura Pappano mentions this very topic on traditional education, and goes even further to say that online courses also eliminate the social experiences available on campuses. Since you are no longer interacting with the professor face to face, you are also no longer interacting with other students, making for a lonely college career. It completely destroys the “college experience”. 

The same goes for e-books, in them supporting the technological capabilities of devices today. I, personally, have never purchased an e-book or an e-reader, so I’d have to read it on my computer. I prefer opening a physical book. When I’m assigned homework that involves reading articles or other online sources, such as this assignment, I print them out. I don’t enjoy reading off of my computer. I’d rather physically turn a page. There are two positives that I see with this technology. One, it’s less expensive and, two, you can carry all of your textbooks with you at one time without breaking your back. I thought an interesting point from USA Today’s article was the thought that people will start pirating e-books, just like they do with music. I’d never thought of that before.  Students in the article, also mentioned how it was harder to study using e-books, due to lack of page numbers and identifiers such as sticky notes. Overall, in my opinion, the bad outweighs the good with e-books. I’d much rather physically hold a book, it proves much more interesting to me that way, than if I have to read it via electronic device. 

 

 

My music medium

Music is a huge part of my day to day life. The main settings in which I listen include work, in the car, In my room, and when I’m on my computer. when I’m in the car or in my room getting ready for school I listen to the radio. It usually has a pretty good variety and it’s a quick fix for the silence. There are other times when I listen to my Spotify playlists in my room instead of the radio. The playlists include some of my favorite songs and therefore I know I will hear only music I like. Also, when I’m in the car I constantly switch from the radio to my iPod to CDs. The radio overplays popular songs, making my iPod and CDs an escape from the repetitiveness. While I do homework I also listen to Spotify. Like we discussed in class, we can become dependent on certain technologies, and apps that provide musical entertainment are relevant to this topic for me personally. They also connect me to friends and what they are listening to. Overall music is more than just entertainment, it’s a multifaceted way for me to connect with people, while getting my music fix through many mediums.

My viewpoints on communication technology

My name is Natalie Murphy and to be frank I’m on the fence about technology. Sure I adore my iPhone and all its Apps, but technology can be scary. I hate change and when new inventions or upgrades come out into the media, it worries me that it will alter my day to day life for the worse. I always feel that the “new toys” will be smarter than me and that I won’t be able to figure them out. 

Radio is one of the mediums of technology I most frequently use. Everyday when I’m driving I’m listening to the radio, as are my parents. Although there are exceptions to this such as CD and iPod use. But, the majority of the time spent in the car is time spent listening to live radio broadcasting. I think radio will exist far into the future, but just in a different format. For example,  there’s online radio (iHeartRadio) that you can access almost anywhere without being in your car or having an actual radio in front of you. Anywhere you receive Internet, you can listen to live radio. The only complication I see is the online music apps, such as Spotify and Pandora. You can listen free to any song and create playlists of your favorites. The only problem is to listen without advertisements you have to pay a monthly fee. They allow the listener to choose what they want to hear instead of the song choice being under the control of the DJ/radio station. Also, there’s much more to radio then just music. Contests with prizes, talk shows, weather/traffic updates, and school closings are provided on a daily if not an hourly basis. Overall, I believe radio will survive even with technological advances. People want to hear live voices talking about subjects of the news that affect their area, among other such things. Without radio, exposure of new music/artists will decrease and people will turn to Apps that allow them to listen to what they want  instead of broadening their musical taste.

Somewhere between psychotic and iconic. Pop Culture. MTV.