DigitalMedia Immersion Project
Theimportance of technology cannot be understated as far as the qualityof life in the contemporary human society. This is particularly withregard to the communication bit, where numerous platforms forcommunication have been created allowing for instant, speedy andconvenient sending and transfer of information from one part of theglobe to the other. However, perhaps the most contentious form oftechnology is the social media, which has become the in-thing in thecontemporary society. Indeed, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Reddit, and Twitch.tv among others have provided aparticularly distinctive way of interacting, communicating andsharing information. More often than not, communications in theseplatforms are structured around particular groups or communities thatshare some common features (Keller10).This comes out clearly in the case of the Reddit community called“Explainlike I’m Five”. Thiscommunity comes in handy especially in instances where an individualneeds an explanation pertaining to a complicated topic such as theObama tax cuts or even the Syrian conflicts. These complex topicswould be distilled down to them in their simplest forms so as toallow for enhanced comprehension. Essentially, the users would askthe community to break down the historical, economic, scientificconcepts with experts weighing in with the most accurate or clearestand unbiased answers. Of particular note is the fact that thecomments would either be up-voted or down-voted, which essentiallybrings the most well-sourced and interesting discussions to the top.
Aclose examination of the community reveals that a large proportion oftopics are scientific in nature. For instance, the individualsdiscussed the topic “Whenyou bash your head, elbow or other body part why does the pain seemto dull when you rub it?”or “whatbrain functions cause some people to fall asleep faster than others”.Still, there are other topics pertaining to the usage of computersfor instance “whydoes restarting your phone/computer solve many minor problems you mayhave with it”.This platform also allows for the discussion of controversial topicsas was the case for “Mywife and I have type O blood, my kid has A. How is this possible?”.
Moreoften than not, it is difficult to determine the inner workings of aparticular community simply by adding oneself to it. Indeed, it isimperative that one not only joins the community but also engages inthe conversations and actively participates in them so as tounderstand the functionality of the group. For instance, theprovision of the most well researched comment pertaining to theconversations would not yield the most up-voting reaction rather itis imperative that the comment also be fundamentally exciting andinteresting to the other individuals (Tardanico 13). More often thannot, other individuals would reply to the comments already made andeither counter them, challenge or support them or even, in somecases, be downright cruel. Nevertheless, adding oneself in theconversation enhances one’s comprehension of other individuals inthe group to the extent that one knows what to expect or the reactionthat a particular reply would elicit (Keller10).
Thiscommunity espouses the statements and concepts that have beenexplored in the course. Indeed, as Yzer and Southwell (2008) notes,the new technologies have not effected any fundamental changes ormodifications on the theoretical bonds pertaining to humaninteractions rather these interactions have persistently beengoverned by fundamental human behavior. This comes out clearly in thefact that the conversations that the conversations that are moreinteresting or “juicy” seem to attract considerably more commentsand reaction from the other participants than is the case for theseemingly moribund conversations. Similarly, McCluhan (33) notes thatthe impact of technology never takes place at the concept or opinionlevel rather it alters the patterns of perception or sense ratiosgradually without any form of resistance. Of particular note is thefact that the individuals have increased control over the informationthat they provide or rather the course of the conversation. This isin line with the assertions that Yzer and Southwell (2008) put acrosswhen they note that the new communication technologies radicallyincrease the links between individuals and result in the eliminationof the barriers that exist between people for a long time. Indeed,the new technologies allow individuals to have unprecedented controlover the exchange of information, which is connected to themembership of individuals in numerous communities that areincorporated in the new communication technologies (Yzer andSouthwell 11).
Inconclusion, technology has had an immense effect on the capacity ofindividuals in different parts of the globe to communicate andinteract at different levels. This is particularly the case forsocial media, which allows for the formation of groups or communitiescomposed of individuals with shared agendas, likes and preferences.It may be well acknowledged that there is contention over whether thetechnological advancement does, in any way, alter the manner of humaninteraction.
McCluhan,Marshall. The Medium is the Message. In “Understanding Media: TheExtensions of Man”. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print
Yzer,Marco C and Brian G. Southwell. New Communication Technologies, OldQuestions. AmericanBehavioral ScientistVolume 52 Number 1, 2008. Print
Keller,Maura. Social Media and Interpersonal Communication. SocialWork TodayVol.13 No. 3 P. 10, print
Tardanico,Susan. Is Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication? Forbes2012.Web retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/04/30/is-social-media-sabotaging-real-communication/