Question Forum 2

1. Games have an instant and measured payoff, while real life can be hard, slow to reward, and often disappointing. As a result, does the inherently "pressure-less" nature of virtual reality cause us to realize that we want something more in our own "real" lives?
(Katie Winand)

2. To what extent do you multi-task? To what extent does your multi-tasking allow you to get more done? Do you think that the quality of your work suffers as a result of multi-tasking? In other words, do you think that your output would be better by focusing on one thing at a time? (See the Keywords section for explorations of the idea of "focus" and "flow" if you'd like.) (See pages 162-168 for Turkle’s section on multi-tasking.)
(Tony Pagliaro)

These questions I don’t expect to be answered (although feel free to), but it’d be interesting to think about before class. For those of you who have a smart phone (I’m assuming most), how long do you think you could go without using it? An hour? A day? A week? Forever? How about without using a cell phone at all? How about without any internet in your home? How might you compensate for these losses? Do you think that you would experience “withdrawal” effects? What might they be and to what extent?
(Tony Pagliaro)

3. In Chapter 10, Turkle writes, "Audrey says that her online avatars boost her real-life confidence" (192). Second Life gives people the opportunity to change the way others perceive them and "connect, shop, work, love, explore, be different, free yourself, free your mind, change your looks, love you looks, love your life" (192) but where is the line? Do people who have these Second Life avatars realize that no matter how similar their life is to their avatar's life they are still separate? Do you agree with Audrey that this lifestyle could actually boost real-life confidence?
(Lexi Pettigrew)

4. Today most people communicate their feelings ONLY through technology versus in person or simply talking on the phone. Do you take offense if someone doesn’t return a text message or Facebook post regarding positive or even disappointing news? Based on their answer or even lack of response, does this affect your friendship with that individual the next time you connect with them?
(Sarah Brown)

5. Creating an online profile about yourself through social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Twitter can be overwhelming. Based on theses different sites, how do you represent yourself differently AND why? Do you judge other professionals or even friends by what is listed under their profile?
(Sarah Brown)


David Kistler

5. Based on theses different sites, how do you represent yourself differently AND why? Do you judge other professionals or even friends by what is listed under their profile?

I find this to be a fascinating topic, so i am glad you brought it up. I personally, use these sites to keep up with people that are not in Blacksburg, especially Facebook. My own postings on Facebook have to do with current events or my reaction to something I see happening or of an experience (Hokie football). On the other hand, Twitter has become some what of a hobby. I may not constantly post, but I am always following. Now, let me clarify…I do not just follow Twitter to focus on what my friends are doing, but rather to follow news outlets and bloggers. For the most part, I tend to be on the professional side when using social media. My LinkedIn account is for selling myself and to make connections with professionals with my same interests. But I do know people that use social media as an outlet for their emotions or to brag off about what they are doing. I would say that I do judge my 'friends' on social media sites by the things they post. These technologies could be used for so many good things, but people use them the way that they want. I am interested in hearing what other people have to say.

2. To what extent do you multi-task? To what extent does your multi-tasking allow you to get more done? Do you think that the quality of your work suffers as a result of multi-tasking? In other words, do you think that your output would be better by focusing on one thing at a time?

Personally, I keep my multi-tasking to a minimum. By that I mean that if I do multi-task I am doing only 2 or 3 things at a time. I rarely talk on the phone and drive, but I will listen to music and do homework (like now). Listening to music is often the other 'task' I am doing. It helps me relax and to stay focused. Some people may not see it as a task, but for me it is because I enjoy making playlists and listening to many different genres. Since it does help me relax, I would say that my work is often times better than when I don't listen to music. When I focus on just one thing, such as homework I am more susceptible to surfing the web and that is never productive. While listening to music, I can combine an enjoyable task with a mandatory one and that makes the latter easier.


Kyleigh Palmiotto

1. Games have an instant and measured payoff, while real life can be hard, slow to reward, and often disappointing. As a result, does the inherently "pressure-less" nature of virtual reality cause us to realize that we want something more in our own "real" lives?
(Katie Winand)

Society overall always has a competitive mindset. We all try to go to the best schools and then become employed at the best companies with the best paying jobs. Then we strive to have the better home, car, family, etc. We always have the pressure to be better in every aspect of our life, including our virtual life. If you think about it, we are constantly posting our best pictures on Facebook, or intentionally post goofy ones that we still look like were a normal human being. But we hardly ever post events about us losing or not getting our dream job. We don’t like to see ourselves as failures.
There is no aspect of our life that is “pressure –less” I feel that we can vent this pressuring world through the virtual world though. We can complain of the amount of school work we have, just so then we know that were not the only ones cracking under the pressure. The virtual world is an outlet for us to seek out help and comfort from the real world. It gives us a temporary break from actually facing the pressure of the real world, that’s why we seem to spend more time on Facebook, twitter, or online shopping sites, to avoid what we have to face.

2. To what extent do you multi-task? To what extent does your multi-tasking allow you to get more done? Do you think that the quality of your work suffers as a result of multi-tasking? In other words, do you think that your output would be better by focusing on one thing at a time? (See the Keywords section for explorations of the idea of "focus" and "flow" if you'd like.) (See pages 162-168 for Turkle’s section on multi-tasking.)

With class discussions I’ve changed my mind on mult-tasking. I think I am great at keeping myself distracted from what is on my mind or I am able to do a little bit of everything at one time. If I did focus on one task at a time I think the quality of my work would be better. For example if I was writing this response, then realized I need to send a few important emails out (which I actually do need to), I would pause this response and send out those emails before I forget (I continued to write this). But in most cases I do jump back and forth between tasks and say I did write those emails I might have forgotten to add an attachment to one of them and then have to send out another email with the attachment. Then I would lose my thought process for this response and I would have to start over.


Hailey Watkins

2. To what extent do you multi-task? To what extent does your multi-tasking allow you to get more done? Do you think that the quality of your work suffers as a result of multi-tasking? In other words, do you think that your output would be better by focusing on one thing at a time? (See the Keywords section for explorations of the idea of "focus" and "flow" if you'd like.) (See pages 162-168 for Turkle’s section on multi-tasking.)

Honestly, I find myself multi-tasking a lot. But even more honestly, I’m not very good at it. I think the biggest example of “multi-tasking” in my life occurs while I’m attempting to study while also texting a friend or checking emails. I find myself doing this all the time without realizing it until an hour has gone by and I seem to have only made it through 4 or 5 pages. It seems so harmless to check a text message while I am reading a chapter, but at the same time, it is a huge distraction. Every time I hear the trill of the incoming text, I automatically take my eyes off the book in front of me and immediately focus on the screen. Now, I imagine that this wouldn’t be that bad, except that after I have sent a responding text, I usually have to rescan the page I was on to find my spot, and even more commonly, I have to backtrack a few sentences to remember what I had just been reading. I found it interesting how the art critic in Turkle’s book mentioned that checking her email became like a drug, and she was the addict—going out of her way numerous times to check her phone that she had intentionally locked in her car (227). I feel the same way about the noises of an incoming text. It seems like no matter what I am doing, as soon as I hear that sound, I am immediately drawn into the world of my iPhone. I know that when it becomes crunch time for schoolwork (studying for an exam or writing a paper) I am able to put my multi-tasking on the back burner. Sometimes if I am doing ordinary homework, I will also have the television on in the background. I definitely see how this negatively affects my work, and I usually opt to turn it off when the assignments grow more vigorous.

4. Today most people communicate their feelings ONLY through technology versus in person or simply talking on the phone. Do you take offense if someone doesn’t return a text message or Facebook post regarding positive or even disappointing news? Based on their answer or even lack of response, does this affect your friendship with that individual the next time you connect with them?

There are definitely times when I think my feelings would get hurt if I didn’t receive a response to a post or text. I feel as though if I took the time to actually write something on someone’s wall—not just “like” a comment or something—then it usually signifies that I had something either funny or important to share with them. On the other hand, if my news is actually important or serious, I would never share it through Facebook. I think that not returning a text message is more offensive than not returning a Facebook message though, because to be honest, we all know that everyone carries their phones around with them so if you don’t get a response in at least a few hours, you know you’ve been ignored. I definitely don’t agree with the idea of calls being “intrusive” that Turkle mentions in her book though (206). Turkle tells of how she and her friend Joyce email to share good news, rather than calling. From a personal example, when my best friend sent me a picture message of her wearing her new engagement ring from her boyfriend, I immediately responded with a phone call, because I know that’s what I would have wanted my friends to do, no matter how busy people might be throughout the day.


Barrett Sorrells
4. Today most people communicate their feelings ONLY through technology versus in person or simply talking on the phone. Do you take offense if someone doesn’t return a text message or Facebook post regarding positive or even disappointing news? Based on their answer or even lack of response, does this affect your friendship with that individual the next time you connect with them?
(Sarah Brown)

Ever since this class began, I have felt a little out of place in the technological world. Of course I have a cell phone and a Facebook account, but I feel that because these things became more popular after I completed high school, my generation was “left out”, so to speak. I use my Facebook account to communicate with some people, but I generally use it more to just saw what’s on my mind about a certain event (such as Hokie or Redskins football), or to see pictures of my friends and family. I hardly ever use the FB messenger to carry on a one-on-one conversation with someone. Text messaging is another thing. I love to text as a way of communicating with my friends (not my family), simply because I am always busy! I have 15 credit hours at VT my last semester (12 of which are in writing intensive courses), I work around 35 hours a week in a restaurant, and I drive back and forth to Roanoke all the time because that’s where my family is. This makes for very little free time for me so I prefer not to spend it talking on the phone.

To answer your questions, no I don’t get offended when someone doesn’t answer my FB or text message because I know they are probably just as busy as I am and will respond when they get the chance. Even if I am expressing very positive or sad negative thoughts, I wouldn’t get upset at not getting a response simply because, if the news is that important, I would take the time and effort to place a phone call to whomever I intended to share the news with. Again, this is where my age difference comes into play. When I was in high school AOL was just getting started and the county I grew up in wasn’t necessarily a wealthy one, so home computers were not an every-household item. If you wanted to make plans with someone or share some great (or tragic) news, you picked up the phone and talked to the other person, so I guess it all depends on what was available to you when growing up as to how you will continue to communicate with one another.

In class on Thursday we were talking about how often college students communicate with their parents. Some said daily, other a few times a week, and a couple only once or twice a week. Me, I talk to my parents a maximum of once a week and it’s usually more like once every two weeks. I don’t feel it’s because we have a bad relationship (we are actually closer now than we have ever been), but because, before FB and text messages, there was no constant way of communication with anyone unless you picked up the phone and called them. I guess we can just say that I’m still old school when it comes to communication!


Michele Stulga

4.
First, I would just like to address the issue that most people communicate through technology. It’s kind of a scary thought. I could sit in my room all day, “alone,” but still be in complete contact with everyone I know. I like the idea that Turkle presents at the beginning of Chapter 10—that technology can be enhance relationships for those who are introverted. She tells about the life a shy teen, Audrey, who almost entirely uses texting and instant messaging to communicate with her friends. Audrey believes that she is able to create closer connections with other that she normally wouldn’t be able to. However, even Audrey acknowledges that eventually she will “need to talk to people on the phone—but not now.” My questions is, will she be ready when she needs to? Or will she be completely lacking in that set of social skills? If you never push yourself beyond your boundaries, how are you expected to grow?

With that idea in mind, I’ll get to the question at hand. I really wish I could answer that question negatively, but often times interactions based on technological communication will really get under my skin. Saturday, for instance, I found out something that really pissed me off regarding one of my best friends. We were not together at the time, and I felt that I was too upset to wait to talk to her about it. So, I texted her. She, however, did not have her phone on her, and did not give me a timely response. Once she saw my messages, she responded, and we loosely resolved the issue, but entirely over text messaging. We have yet to discuss it in person. And you know what? That’s not okay with me. I would not consider myself a particularly shy person (like Audrey), but I resorted to using technology to confront a friend about an issue that really should have been discussed in person. And I feel like that happens a lot, with a lot of people. Is technology enabling me to adapt the habits of an introverted person? Is it true what they say, that if you don’t use it (social skills), you will lose it? Now that I really think about it, I don’t feel that the issue is resolved. And you know how I think it will be? Only if I talk to her, face to face.


Elizabeth Haydu

1. Games have an instant and measured payoff, while real life can be hard, slow to reward, and often disappointing. As a result, does the inherently "pressure-less" nature of virtual reality cause us to realize that we want something more in our own "real" lives?
(Katie Winand)

The wording of this question is very interesting. Words like “instant” and “pressure-less” definitely apply to virtual reality games in a sense that you can pause something or walk away from the computer and either come back, or start a new game. However, they are also contradictory. There are several types of games that do not really give you that instant gratification because they are played in real time. For example, my brother plays a game that has to do with building spaceships and you have to wait the actual amount of time in the game that you would in reality. You experience the same amount of angst waiting for your spaceship to be fixed so you can go back to your game as you do with waiting for the clock to hurry up and hit five so you can leave work.
As far as wanting more in our “real” lives, I think that most people are able to distinguish the line between reality and fantasy in these situations (except the occasional few). I actually think that there is a possibility for these games to strict some reality into people as well. The reality that our lives are not what we want them to be hits home with everyone at some point and sitting down and going into a virtual reality and then coming out to the real world might actually be a kick in the pants for some people who need it. On the same note, however, it can be dangerous to lose yourself in a reality that builds on the very fact that you can be whoever you want in this new world and that can trump reality, so why go back to reality?

2. To what extent do you multi-task? To what extent does your multi-tasking allow you to get more done? Do you think that the quality of your work suffers as a result of multi-tasking? In other words, do you think that your output would be better by focusing on one thing at a time? (See the Keywords section for explorations of the idea of "focus" and "flow" if you'd like.) (See pages 162-168 for Turkle’s section on multi-tasking.)
(Tony Pagliaro)

I multitask all the time. Right now, I am sitting at work, catching up on the news by watching it on my computer, typing this, drinking coffee, and being very productive on a molecular level trying to maintain balance whilst leaning back precariously in this chair. Multi-tasking does allow me to get a lot of smaller things done, but I have found that it is harder to focus on bigger tasks or more meticulous work when I am doing so many things at once. I don’t feel like the smaller tasks suffer from my multi-tasking, but some of the larger ones (like studying and retaining information for a test) I could see suffering if I am doing more than just listening to music while I study.

Now, as far as the smart phone thing goes, I do own one and I enjoy having it. I run around a lot and get several important emails throughout the day and having it around just makes it easier to keep on top of things. However, I have gone weeks without a phone or a smart phone. That includes internet, I JUST got internet in my apartment and I have been living here for over a month. I find I am more productive without it around and didn’t really feel withdrawal, just bummed that I HAD to get it because everything revolving around school involves the internet. It was a relief actually, not having it around for a while.


Jessie Abell
5.
I think that this is a really interesting question because often when reading Turkle’s book I have considered the stories about people she’s studied and thought, “Oh, but I’m not like that person. I don’t have an avatar or spend 10 hours a day playing virtual reality games.” However, I’m beginning to see the connectedness and realize that social media sites, particularly Facebook, are very similar to sites like Second Life and the use of avatars. When Turkle discusses Audrey in Chapter 10, she says, “As we’ve seen, for Audrey, building an online avatar is not so different from writing a social-networking profile. An avatar, she explains, ‘is a Facebook profile come to life.’ …In all of these, as she sees it, the point is to do ‘a performance of you’” (191). As Turkle illustrates, though, the use of Facebook, texting, instant messaging, and all other forms of technological communication definitely combine to create a sort of online “game” that we are constantly playing and, in a lot of ways, addicted to.

On my Facebook profile, I don’t post pictures of me that make me look bad (or let other people), I don’t talk about serious emotional issues (the death of a loved one), and I try not to complain even about day to day small issues (bad drivers). I think it’s interesting that we’ve all concluded in class that the goal is pretty much to represent the “best version” of yourself: the prettiest, nicest, most well-rounded, successful one.

In class discussions, many people have talked about how there are a few people on Facebook who only complain and, in a different kind of game, are constantly trying to one-up each other on who has the worst problems. I remember a few people in class saying that when these “complainers” show up on their news feed, they just opt to not see that person’s profile anymore. No one has said, “I got tired of reading all of these complaints, so I just deleted my Facebook.”

I’ve thought about deleting my Facebook account so many times, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I tell myself that it’s because I like to see pictures of my 2 year-old niece or younger brother and sister, but in reality, I could stay connected with family without Facebook. I could call them and chat, ask them to email me a few pictures. This may seem like circumventing one technology by using another, but I could get away from the feeling of constantly “needing” to check Facebook. This winds into a lot of the key words and other questions about being alone, focusing, concentrating…I think Facebook makes it difficult to do any of these things.

Mostly, I think about the fact that we say we are representing the “best version” of ourselves on Facebook, but we aren’t really. It’s like how airbrushed supermodels in magazines create morphed conceptions of beauty because they’re not realistic. Facebook is the same in a lot of ways: it’s creating false conceptions of what the “best” kind of person is. If we all end up trying to imitate our Facebook profiles and be without flaws, complaints, issues, or emotions, then we’ll end up acting like robots.


Sarah Groat

2. I multitask a lot when I’m on my computer, not so much at any other time. When I’m off the computer, it’s a lot easier to focus on a single task, such as reading or maybe drawing. But when I’m on the computer, I always have several windows open, and I’m usually doing some sort of work and social networking at the same time. For instance, if I’m reading a PDF, I’ll read maybe up to a page and then browse social networking. Same thing if I’m writing a paper, I’ll write a paragraph and then check social networking. It doesn’t really allow me to get more done, because I’m not working on two projects at once, rather I’m working on one thing and then letting my mind wander to other things before coming back to focus. I don’t think it negatively affects the quality of my work either though. It just takes me longer to do it. I’m still able to keep my train of thought and to keep what I’m writing organized.

It does affect reading comprehension though, especially when I try to grasp the big picture of the article. I’ve tried to remedy this by setting my computer’s task bar to hide when I move my cursor away from it, so that I can’t see when a site has a new notification or something. Otherwise, I see it and feel the urge to check and lose focus. I gain the most out of reading comprehension when I’m reading something in print though, rather than on the computer.

5. I don’t think I represent myself too differently to those I also know in real life. However, I’m part of a private Facebook group of about 30 girls I’ve never met in person before, and it is easier to project a version of myself to them that is harder to in real life because of shyness. I also use Twitter, and tweet in a certain kind of way to appeal to certain kinds of people. Then, I also have a Tumblr, and I think that represents another facet of my personality. I don’t think any single form of social media gives a complete picture of ‘who I am’.

I definitely judge people by their Facebook profiles. I’ve met someone before and thought they were pretty okay, and then their Facebook completely decimated the impression I had of them. It’s not only the things they have listed on their profile, but the kinds of photos they upload and are tagged in. It all works together to give a representation of yourself, and you’re in control of it so I’m going to assume what I see there is accurate, is the impression you want to give off.



Astleigh Hobbs
1. Addressing the first question, I think that the virtual world can create an alternate, but skewed reality that may not necessarily apply to real, everyday life. From social media sites to gaming worlds, an individual can create an environment that highlights their best characteristics and traits, creating a false sense of self that is displayed to others around them. The reality of life's ups and downs is lost in such worlds, as people chose to forgo reality and replace it with a happier, faster, less-complicated world.

Because this world promotes the unrealistic, I believe that people can easily get lost in such ideas and begin to apply it their life. Wanting life to be faster and inherently "pressure-less" is far more preferred over the challenges, struggles, and sometimes slow pace of every day. Virtual identities seemingly make it possible for humans to overcome and escape the pressures going on in their lives. I think it is unhealthy for people to lose themselves and reshape their views of reality by escaping to an alternate state-of-mind.

2. Oh multitasking, I have two different views on this matter as I am sure that most people do. In some instances multitasking is my best friend and is very useful for "killing two birds with one stone". As long as I can keep a balance within the tasks that I am simultaneously doing then multitasking is really helpful and I am a faster and more productive person. However, on the flip side I experience the consequences of multitasking carelessly. For example, if writing a paper for class and trying to catch up on a missed television show I am greatly slowed down in finishing my paper or making any real progress on it. In these cases, after wasting enough time of course, I have to quit multitasking and focus solely on the important task. Overall, I don't think my it affects my work, it just takes me that much longer to get it done and move on to the next item on my to-do list.

So I am very pro and con on multitasking, as I see its benefits and downfalls. It's hard for me to take a definitive stance because on some occasions it's very helpful and allows me to be two, three, or four times more productive. Then of course there is the downside and the inability to get much of anything done when I am trying to do a lot at once.


Anne Cunha
2.
If I am being perfectly honest to myself, my multitasking actually does not help me get more done. My multitasking actually contributes to my procrastination and causes me to get distracted and I get less done. My quality of work does suffer because of my “multitasking” because it is not really multitasking at all but instead it is procrastination. “Multitasking” is the name I give to my procrastination to make myself feel better about it. Yes I do think that my output would be much better if I only focused on one thing at a time but that does not seem realistically possible given the amount of things I usually need to get done which require the use of the internet or other things that distract me.

2. Part II
I feel like I could go most of the day without my smartphone to be honest, maybe even a couple days. I didn’t actually get a cell phone until I was 16 so I really don’t depend on my phone as much as other people do. Sometimes I actually leave my phone at my apartment all day just because I can. On the other hand, I don’t think I could go nearly as long without Internet at my house. I like to feel a little bit connected to others by using the internet. I don’t feel like I would experience any withdrawal from it because I generally keep in contact with my friends and boyfriend without using the Internet.

4.
I don’t usually post personal things on a social networking site so anything I post on Facebook (for example) is usually just something funny I found or some sort of joke. Anything pressing, I usually convey using a phone call. Sometimes (depending on the content of the text message) I do get offended when someone does not answer my text message, especially because I have an iPhone and I can tell when the text message was delivered to another person with an iPhone. Honestly, if I need to talk to someone about something really urgent, I will call them. It makes more sense to do more personal things by talking over the phone or face to face.


Kyle Zalewski

Question 3

I think that the point of a lot of these online “Second Life” type games is to escape into an alternate reality in which many of the laws and properties of real life don’t apply. I don’t think that people get on the applications to simply replicate their real life in any close way. I don’t really agree with Audrey because confidence in one’s fictional character is not necessarily confidence in oneself. Once you realize that you don’t have the same awesome hairdo as your online character, the “confidence-building” mechanism of your online identity fails to function. Maybe in an indirect way, interaction with other players of the game could boost real life social skills. But I think that this scenario is more just social skills building social skills rather than the online counterpart making a permanent amendment to the player’s self-image. The lower-pressure environment gives the player a medium to interact without his acne making him feel unconfident, but I don’t necessarily believe that the avatar has anything to do with it so much as simple online anonymity.

Question 5

Facebook and LinkedIn have distinctly different intentions. Although there has been a recent (and in my opinion, somewhat invasive) surge in companies’ use of Facebook as a means to judge people, I don’t agree with this tactic as it may be considering the wrong side of people. It’s roughly equivalent to a company spying on what you do when you and your friends hang out. Most people likely aren’t prepared for that kind of scrutiny. You certainly wouldn’t show up to a job interview in jeans and a tank top, so why should a company assume you are always wearing a suit?

LinkedIn is a more professional environment, and is specifically tailored to that kind of audience. Most people who create a LinkedIn profile and network, are metaphorically wearing the suit. I think that judging someone from a more professional environment is necessary, since a professional environment is what the job will likely be.


Kayla Vanderlyn
2. Multitasking has become an integral part of most people's lives at this point. Without the ability to tune work on multiple projects at once, it is difficult to stay on top of all the demands of life. Personally, I often work on homework while talking to others, or listen to movies while reading. Many of my friends are capable of upholding conversations while watching movies and playing games.

4. Personally, texting is not part of my cell plan, and while I have a smartphone I only have 300 MB of data, so I typically don't text or check Facebook more than once a day. Because of this, I can hardly fault anyone else for not returning my messages.

5. My profiles tend to have very little information about myself and it doesn't typically vary across medium. I tend to only interact with people I already know when on Facebook or Twitter, so the profile is not terribly important. I have never looked at my friends' Facebook profiles in any depth as I only use the site as a way to keep in contact for school projects or club meetings.