We used to hear the term “Welcome to The World of Technology” quite frequently as we entered this digital age in the late 20th century. However, as we move further into the 21st century, I would argue that it is more appropriately coined “Welcome to The World Technology Controls”.
Now, is this a bad thing? I am not so sure, and I would think that we do not actually have enough knowledge to solidify an answer to that question. I do know few things though:
- Technology is not going anywhere, and will only become more prominent with time
- Technology is not going to wait for us. If we try to avoid it, we will fall obsolete. It is the future whether we like it or not
- Technology is not a giant unmovable wall. While we cannot avoid it, we can change it, innovate it, and cause a change in direction if we put the work towards it
In class we spoke about app usage, and the trends of the days. Personally I use Facebook and Facebook Messenger an incredible amount, to the point that FB Messenger almost surpasses texting as my primary source of communication. However, younger generations are already avoiding Facebook because its for “old people”.
They are also moving on a trend towards anonymity, using anonymous question sites like Ask.FM, or Sarahah, which act like magnets for cyber bullying and negative activity. For messaging? Texting still happens, but Snapchat is the winner in this category, again using an anonymous system that deletes previous content and messages.
And for the solution to Facebook, for what Snapchat doesn’t cover they tend to use Instagram or Whatsapp, posting pictures and stories on these platforms. The interesting part of this is that Facebook owns Whatsapp and Instagram, hinting back to the idea of the Technology controlling the World.
In the TedTalk, Turkle speaks about how messages are more socially and emotionally meaningful than they used to be. As we move further from physical or vocal connections, those text messages such as “You will be great”, “Awesome job”, etc… are becoming very similar to giving someone a hug. With these strings of characters becoming our primary source of communication and social connection, they have taken on a more significant and intimate role in our mental, social, and emotional sense.
She also touches on the idea that these devices are not just changing what we do, and how we interact in the world. Instead they are literally changing who we are! Some online activities we participate in, or how we interact with people, how gusty we are nowadays, we will do things using technology that we would have been opposed to previously.
A great example of this confusion/augmentation that is caused by technology was Robbie’s comment in a previous class. How she had students that would not say certain things online because it would be cyber bullying, but they would be willing to say it in person since that is not “cyber” bullying. This is a bit of an augmentation/confusion of the reasons behind preventing cyber bullying, and while not exactly the same, it shows a real example of how we are treating technology and physical interactions differently than previously.
It was also suggested that we do not take the technology breaks that we used to. I even remember on Earth Day in elementary school, taking a total blackout from technology and computers for a day, something that I almost never see nowadays. I personally take a social media hiatus once or twice a semester, where I literally delete the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter applications from my phone. This is because I can tell that this addition to social media, and digital interaction, has even reached myself. It is something most of us suffer from, and it is fascinating to take a break from it because you begin to notice your habits. Your subconscious action to open the social media apps, to scroll through your social circle. It is something you never realize until after you go without it.
So in terms of technology and society, I am not someone who is saying it is a bad thing, and I am the last person to suggest ignoring/withdrawing from it entirely. Technology does a lot of good in society, and in this day and age you are at a disadvantage without it. However, I do see the issues it causes, and the dangers that are behind it. These are real trends that are occuring, technology is redefining our entire basic social interaction system, and we can’t stop it.
This is why I believe we have to move away from introducing people to the World of Technology and the digital age. We are already there, whether you like it or not, and there is no need for introducing the trivial. We are at a point in society where we should be looking at this World Controlled by Technology, and creating awareness in each other for who is controlling it, you or others. As we all know, we will never have full control, but we also should never become content with receiving no control, as that will be the day society has truly transformed into a puppet for large companies and technology.