This past hour spent online was one of my more productive uses of the Internet and my time. I used some of it to participate in a discussion board activity for my psychology class, scroll through my Instagram, watch Snapchat’s and read Facebook posts. I found myself unable to concentrate on my homework at to counteract my boredom I took to social media. I never post much instead spending most of my time watching everyone else’s posts. I liked a couple pictures on Instagram, looked through the popular page, grew tiresome, closed the tab and opened Snapchat. I watched the few recent posts on Snapchat and moved on to Facebook. After watching a few Insider food videos and reading one of their travel articles, I had gotten my social media fix and went back to my psychology homework.
In a pre-digital era, the activities I did in the past hour would definitely not happen in the same context. The discussion board posts I worked on were a way of engaging in with my classmates and discussing material for an online class. In a pre-digital era, there would be no online classes and instead I would be having these conversations face-to-face, in a traditional classroom. As far as turning to social media as a way to salvage my boredom, I probably would have been reading a book or talking to a friend. The things that I managed to do in one hour via the Internet would have taken much more time and energy from me had a computer and Wi-Fi not be at my disposal.
Both Couldry and Athique say that computerization and digitization improve our lives by making them more convenient. Couldry states, more people are now multi-tasking between multiple media; … the ability to communicate socially and with loved ones across multiple platforms is becoming basic for many, rich and poor (p. 19).” He also goes on to talk about the iPhone and how we have the ability to switch through apps and the Internet making us more connected to everything within one device. People are communicating differently and with a wider range of people that they were unable to do before. Similarly, Athique says, “digitization has already done much to ensure that the ways in which we study and play, in which we work (or avoid work) are markedly different different from the experiences of the generations that preceded us (p. 18).” Athique’s statement directly applies to how I spent my one hour online. I relied on the internet to study/do my work, but at the same time and on the same device, used it to not do my work.
Digitization and computerization have created new social practices for people to indulge in through the many digital devices available. The quality of relationships has changed as we spend more time having conversations over the Internet than we do face-to-face. Athique comments that even though computerization is a symbol of ultra-modernity, it is also a symbol of anxiety, dependence and obsolescence (p. 18). Athique’s critique of computerization stands depending on the circumstance. Like anything in life the Internet is best used in moderation. Balance is key. Over indulging in social media by using it as an escape for your real life does not have positive effects. But if social media is used to network, create new relationships and stay in contact with loved ones far away, then it will improve our human activity in a good way. The Internet has a way of making or breaking us, but the plus side it we have control over which one it does.
An article titled, “Technology in Moderation,” ties back to the idea that though the Internet improves our lives by make it easier for us to do things, it is important for us as consumers to really ask ourselves if it is beneficial in the long run. The article goes on to discuss how technology is moving at rapid speeds and humans are not able to adapt as quickly as new things are being created. This probes the questions:
- Is saturating ourselves in the ever-growing technology industry making us lose the very things that make us human? Is technology going to take over our lives in ways we have yet to comprehend?
- If technology is supposed to improve our world connectivity, is it really doing this through our screen? Are we missing out on the better things of life?