Digital Media Immersion Project

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.

ObservationFindings

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?”.

Participationreport

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).

CourseConnections

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.

WorksCited

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&nbspCommunication? Forbes2012.Web retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/04/30/is-social-media-sabotaging-real-communication/

Digital Media Immersion Project

DigitalMedia Immersion Project

Communicationmay be seen as one of the most fundamental elements of the humanbeings whether it is the traditional or the modern society. Indeed,it may be credited with a large proportion of growth and developmentthat has occurred since time immemorial. Perhaps the increased paceof this growth may be attributed to the heightened capacity of humanbeings to interact or communicate and share ideas as has beenespoused by the numerous technological advancements. At the height oftechnological advancements is the social media, which has allowed forincreased communication, engagement and interaction among people fromdifferent parts of the globe even when they are strangers. However,even within the social media, there have emerged varied groups andcommunities composed of individuals with similar likes andpreferences or who share common interests. This comes out clearly inthe case of the Reddit community called “DoIt Yourself”.This community acknowledges the desire in a large proportion ofpeople in the contemporary society to have items that are customizedto their needs and preferably at a low cost. However, this can rarelybe achieved by many people, in which case the only option would befor an individual to build the items by themselves.

ObservationFindings

Thiscommunity has a wide range of themes that are explored as every otherperson come up with his or her invention or way of doing things. Forinstance, there is the individual who built a sofa from scratch whileanother made a terracotta hanging platter, or even a pin board worldmark to mark their travels across the globe. Apart from the prettyhandy items, there were other individuals who were concerned abouttechnology as was the case for the contributor who offered tips onhow to convert the 50’s Philco Predicta TV, or even a marriagebetween technology and handy construction where an old laptop isconverted into an all-in-one desktop/art piece.

ParticipationReport

Theparticipation in the group came with fundamental lessons. It isnoted, however, that there are numerous ways of participating orcontributing in the community including coming up with one’s ownproject, sharing it with the individuals in the platform and askingfor assistance or getting advice on it. While I may not have had anyproject to offer within that time, I had to ask some questionsregarding the projects that were already posted in the platform. Thistriggered discussions that were not restricted to the project itselfbut could also span across other projects as individuals offered tipson how to do them or rather how the current projects could be changedinto another entirely different thing altogether. Apart from askingquestions, I had to offer tips in the areas where I deemed myself tobe conversant with the concepts required. Of course, thisparticipation allowed for the comprehension of the other individualswithin the community. It may be acknowledged that the people were notprimarily geeks but rather pretty common or next-door people that hadamazing ideas and could actually offer assistance on varied projectswhen called upon to do so.

Courseconnections

Moreoften than not, questions come up on whether the social mediaplatforms allow for increased interaction between individuals oractually inhibits interaction. While there may be differing opinions,it is well acknowledged that the technological advancements enhancethe levels of interaction for a large proportion of individuals.According to Miller (2), social media tamps down the diversity ofopinion and stifles debate pertaining to varied issues that affectthe country. This makes individuals to have a lower likelihood forvoicing their opinions especially in instances where their ideas andopinions are different from those of other people. Miller (4) feelsthat the internet may actually be causing increased polarization ofthe society as individuals surround themselves with other people thatthink in similar ways and are reluctant to say things that are deemeddifferent. While this may be a pretty much clear assertion, it may beacknowledged that a large number of individuals actually feel saferspeaking about contentious issues when they are hidden behind theircomputers (Tardanico 5). Indeed, my participation in the communityrevealed the inner desire of individuals to speak about issues thatwere actually controversial. It may be acknowledged that the only waythat an individual’s post would have remained relevant and attractnumerous comments and up-votes was by offering interesting (andcontroversial) information that would allow for increased debate evenwhen it did not center on the project at hand. As Yzer and Southwell(12) acknowledges, the less computer-mediated interaction offerssocial status cues, the lower the anxiety that individuals feel withregard to being evaluated by their conversation partners. McCluhan(33) offers that the impact of technology does not become manifestedat the opinion or conceptual level but rather changes the senseratios and perception patterns in a steady manner.

Inconclusion, the importance of communication in the society cannot beunderstated as far as the growth and development of the same isconcerned. Social media has come as one of the most fundamentalinventions, allowing individuals from different parts of the globe tointeract on varied issues. However, there are instances where itseems to stifle discussions as individuals become grouped in cocoonsthat have individuals with similar ideas. While this is the case,individuals will always have diverse ideas and their desire to stickout and possibly elicit discussion often causes them to becontroversial and come up with varied contrary opinions.

WorksCited

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

Miller,Claire Cain. How Social Media Silences Debate. NewYork Times.2014. Web retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/upshot/how-social-media-silences-debate.html?abt=0002&ampabg=1

Tardanico,Susan. Is Social Media Sabotaging Real&nbspCommunication? Forbes2012.Web retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/04/30/is-social-media-sabotaging-real-communication/