Social Media and Face to Face Communication

In an age where your Facebook page is where to find “you” and your Twitter feed represents your thoughts, feelings, interests, and even your best news source, how can millennials even rationalize sending a letter or having a private face-to-face conversation?

Even when people are physically in the same room as one another, they are updating their status, following someone on twitter, texting, checking their email, googling something someone just said, looking up a video on YouTube, posting a picture they just took – all in between sentences. I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. I was once eating at a fast food restaurant, when I noticed a group of teenagers sitting across from me, and every single one of them were sitting there texting each other. It blew my mind!

There is never a moment we are not entertained. We are texting when we should be having one-on-one conversations. Relationships are formed in the social media world without ever physically meeting. Can these distractions ever be effectively muted so as to allow for reflection, reading, or even learning? This multimedia overload is completely redefining human interaction. Replacing in-person conversations with text, email, and social media may completely change the way we interact and understand one another. This constant multitasking and informational overload may also have serious implications on education, including verbal and writing skills in the coming generations.

Over 250 million Americans are currently on Facebook. A study in the journal New Media & Society looks at how young people use social networking to define themselves and their interactions. The “older” millennials tend to have social networking pages that are somewhat mild and centered on their connections with other people, authentic relationships they have made in the “real” world. In contrast, young teenagers seem to be using these sites to create dramatic, creative, and sometimes fantastical identities; and both groups, seem to have no sense of privacy or shame when it comes to their internet identities, almost relishing in whatever activity contains “shock value.”

The cyber bullying phenomenon as well as YouTube videos made famous by millions of “dislikes” gives rise to some serious questions. Questions such as the negative impact of relationships and communications, as well as identities, created through these mediums. The social media user feels somewhat “removed,” and thus freer to engage in risky and negative behavior. The increasing communication through technology mediums rather than face-to-face conversations is also reflected in the young adults “texting” obsession.

Social media and the uprising

There’s been some backlash over the last couple of months against the idea that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were brought on by Twitter or a “Facebook Revolution.” And certainly, it takes a lot more than the 21st century version of a communication system to persuade people to take to the streets and risk harm, imprisonment, or death. But that doesn’t mean social media didn’t play a role. It did. Given the magnitude of grievances in each country, revolt would almost certainly have come eventually. But social media simply made it come faster.

Before Egypt shut off the Internet and mobile phones, before it even started blocking Twitter and Facebook, those tools were used to coordinate and spread the word about the demonstrations that were scheduled for January 25. Without these mass organizing tools, it’s likely that fewer people would have known about the protests, or summoned the kind of courage that’s made possible by knowing you’re not the only one sticking your neck out. Without them, fewer people might have shown up, and the Egyptian authorities might have more easily dispatched them. Chances are, we’d be waking up to today with the skirmishes being nothing more than a fading headline from a time long gone.

Did social media make all this happen? No, of course not. Did it bring everything to a head much sooner than it would have, had Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube not existed? Absolutely. This is only the beginning of this type of uprising, and we can expect to see more like it in the not too distant future

http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/role_social_media_arab_uprisings

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/25/twitter-facebook-uprisings-arab-libya

Week2O Why Social Media Failed on Xbox Live

In early 2009 Microsoft added social media apps to Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 video game system. These apps allowed you to login to your Facebook and Twitter accounts on the dashboard of your Xbox when you first logged in to Xbox live. When they first released the apps I tested out the Facebook app to see how it was. The first thing i noticed was, it was exactly like Facebook on your phone or computer. The second thing i noticed was, how unbelievably slow it was, so i never used it again. I personally thought they went about it all wrong and that it wouldn’t last, but every article I read was saying how many users are using/loving the apps. Here is one of those articles,

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10403984-52.html

But then in early October of last year Microsoft announced that they were scrapping the social media apps. Microsoft did not say much on why they did this, the only thing i found was that it was in the interest of “streamlining” app functionality on the service. Let’s make a safe assumption: if the apps were popular and used by Xbox Live members, they’d still be up. No one is talking about taking Netflix down to “streamline” Xbox Live. At present, you’ll be able to access Twitter and Facebook using Microsoft’s Internet Explore App on Xbox Live. On the surface, it seems odd that such popular service which, for many, serve as a central connection to their friends and family, met with so little success on Xbox Live. However, I can’t say that I’m surprised. I am personally a frequent user of Facebook and (slowly) Twitter on my home computer and Iphone.

Between Facebook, Twitter, instant messages, text messages, message boards, and email, I’m not lacking for ways to digitally connect with my friends and online acquaintances. With most “gamers” they are not looking to post status, and send tweets when they turn on their Xbox, they are looking to lose themselves in a virtual world. The main reason I believe the apps fell short was the speed, by the time the Xbox 360 boots up, I could have sent 30 tweets and updated my whole profile from my phone. If Microsoft could update the speed of the apps and add some features where you could post in-game stats, or tweet progress form the game it would fare a lot better with the gaming community. i do not think they should abandon the social media aspect, because it is a really good idea. I believe they just need to go back to the drawing boards and revamp the idea.