Monday, January 23, 2012

Too Many Choices

Dear Ms. Rosenbloom,

I enjoyed your article ¨For the Plugged-In, Too Many Choices". As an avid user of the web and social media I understand how it can help in our daily lives while also overwhelming us, as you say, we are "digitally fatigued."

I know that social media tries to lure us into its web through advertising and other schemes, but I was not aware that sites like Klout and PeerIndex are "computing users' influence scores to rank them in an online hierarchy" but even worst that "potential employers could conceivably make decisions...based on your score." This makes ever more apparent that the line between our private and social/work lives is disappearing.

As our virtual lives increase our real lives decrease, the world is changing fast and it is forcing us to either adapt or to not be included. Sally Wyatt in her article "Non Users Also Matter" explains that there is a group of non internet users some. Wyatt explains that non users "decline to use the internet because they have alternate sources of information and forms of communication that are appropriate to their needs, or because they think it is cumbersome and expensive." This speaks to the fact that although the article is only nine years-old, it is terrible outdated.

Today I find it nearly impossible to live without the web or technology like cellphones, and it is not because I choose to but because life has forced me to. To apply for a job or to communicate with a professor I do it by e-mail, to get an official transcript or a citizenship letter you have to make an request online, to find an article for class we have to search on online library database.

Even our relationships are becoming virtual and we are therefore changing the way we communicate with each other since we are changing our mediums from face-to-face, phones, and letters to texting, IM, and social media. Ilana Gershon in her article, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" explains that because these are fairly new mediums we have all developed our own ideologies of them meaning that " there is nothing inherent in a medium to make it more formal or informal than any other medium." because these tools are so widely available to us we use them to break-up with our significant others without understanding what message they convey to the recepient.

In the end we will never figure out if it is better even correct to break up with someone over IM, texting, or e-mail, the real issue how do we stop the technology from overwhelming us since we cannot be non users or only be virtual beings. Your article has a great examples of how each individual can start to find a balance for example using sites like Freedom to block the internet when one "needs to be productive" or by simply asking  "will it enhance my life?" before signing up for yet another website.

1 comment:

  1. /many/ middle-class people in the first world are non-users -- of Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, and, yes, even of computers and the Internet. Non-use may be relative, it's true (some things /must/ be done using computers), but the idea of the economically well-off non-user is not outdated at all.