Dear Ms. Baym,
I agree with you that our communication has become “increasingly shallow” but has also allowed for more opportunities of connections with people and stronger connections with others. Digital Media is indeed changing the nature of our social connections (Baym 1). The way people communicate has changed drastically within the past couple of generations, let alone in my lifetime. People communicate via text message, email, video conferencing and social medias like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook allows us to keep in touch with “friends” on a regular basis. Facebook keeps us connected to those “friends. I put quotes around the word friends because if it wasn’t for Facebook would be really keep in touch or care what half of our so called “friends were doing? Facebook and other social media has allowed us to stay connected to people that we may not have normally stayed in contact with. So, is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s something I’m still trying to figure out.
I agree with the information you include from Kenneth Gergen that says, “ [We are] struggling with the ‘challenge of absent presence’, worrying that too often we inhabit a ‘floating world’ in which we engage primarily with non-present partners despite the presence of flesh-and-blood people in our physical location” (Baym 3). Nowadays people are always “connected”, meaning that they can be reached at all times. In more cases than not, you see people engaging in conversations via mobile media in public places rather than engaging in conversations with the people around them. People are always connected to the people that they know and the things they are familiar with, but hesitate to be “friendly” and strike up conversations with people out side of their connections or in some cases, comfort zone. Even when people are with other that they are “friends” with or “close” to, they still find the need to be connected to other that are not physically present. I think that this (meaning being constantly connected) devalues the personal time that people spend together in the “physical” world.
Temporal structure is something that stands out to me. Temporal structure allows for convenience. People have the option to communicate at their convenience with the broad forms of mediated communication. Depending on the urgency or importance of the information that is being shared, people may decide to use different forms of communication in order to receive the response in the time desired. For example: My dad is the worst text-er. I can send him text after text after text and they will go un answered for days. I know that if I want to get in touch with my dad (especially if he is at work) I have to email him. When I email my dad I can get an almost immediate response. I also have the ability to email on my phone (which most of us have these days) so instead of texting my dad back and forth on my phone, I can email him, which can have almost the same response time using media that is convenient for both of us.
Convenience and Connection. Those are the things that have become crucial in our world today. People like to be able to things at their convenience while always being connected to the world around them.