Team 2 Synthesis

I found the class discussion interesting because it didn't really go in the direction I expected. I was a little disappointed that most of my classmates didn't relate to my concept of phone anxiety. I know many people who feel anxious about an incoming call and the Turkle's text seemed to support the idea, so I expected better feedback and elaboration. It has nothing to so with my inability to hold a phone conversation, in fact, I really enjoy talking to certain people on the phone. It is the unknown of why that person may be calling me; what do they want to say, why did they call and not text, are they mad or upset, am I in the appropriate place to have this phone call at this time? These are all questions that run through my head as I receive a call. It leads me to ignore the call and wait, until I hear the voicemail or get a text, to contact them back. I really liked that we touched briefly on the idea of flirting over texts. I thought it was interesting because the responses from that question were mostly answered by females. It gave me an incite of how communication is gendered. The men of the classroom seemed to be confused when we discussed the "correct" texting protocol and did not consider it a high issue as some females did. I think the way we view or use technology is very silly and inappropriate at times, such as beginning a new relationship, but I think we are all guilty of falling into the trap. We resort to these alternative ways of communication to avoid a personal level whether it is a conscious decision or not.
(Lexi Pettigrew)

Everyone in our generation multitasks to some extent, and most of us hardly see it as a bad thing. We imagine that we are getting more done because we’re doing more than one thing at once, but this is often not the case. Studies show that overall productivity actually drops while multitasking, and that quality of work also drops significantly. Harnessing the power to focus grows more important as we feel more busy and overwhelmed with our lives. Herein lies something else that we take for granted that may not actually be true: that we are all insanely busy. People are working more hours, working weekends, and neglecting their personal lives to stay caught up at work. This is often not because we are actually busier, but because we waste so much time on technology. Turkle’s examples of people who receive multiple requests from clients (e.g. a text, an email, and a voicemail) illustrate this perfectly: one of these mediums would have likely been sufficient for the message to get through, but now extra time has been wasted dealing with all of them. This of course doesn’t even take into account the productivity lost to wasting time on our favorite social media sites (or sports blogs, or cooking blogs, or reddit, etc.). I’m not saying throw out your smart phone and cancel your internet subscription. These are wonderful, powerful tools that can connect people, allow them to interact, and provide access to information in ways never before imagined. But we must remain wary of instances in which we think technology makes our lives easier when it is not actually doing so. Being “always connected” can be overwhelming, creating the perfect online profile is stressful, and we can easily get lost down the rabbit-hole of online video games (trust me, I’ve been there). As I discussed with a classmate after lecture one day, the irony of this class is that most of us already know these things on some level. As English majors we’ve had to harness our power to focus and learn how to truly communicate with people. We all agree on many of these issues. We must take it upon ourselves, then, to inform the rest of the world what we are learning in ways that they can understand. That will be the real challenge we have to face.
(Tony Pagliaro)

The overall question of whether technology is taking over the human experience is inevitable. Throughout chapters 8-11 from Turkle’s Alone Together, readers learn about how technology is perhaps the new “buffer” for overall experience. In many circumstances, as Team 2, we found even ourselves falling into the same patterns Turkle was describing in her chapters: having phone-anxiety, always being connected with others through our cell phones & laptops, to maybe even feeling more comfortable in online games such as; “War Craft,” where we can be ourselves, yet have this anonymous identity/username. In chapter nine, Turkle describes “Now technology makes it easy to express emotions while they are being formed” (Turkle, 175). Perhaps meaning through technological gadgets such as the new “Google Eye Glasses” or cell phone software’s like “Hatel,” individuals who may have not been initially as introverted as they are today, are now attaching and connecting themselves with these pieces of equipment to express their emotional opinions and escape what is actually the “real” human experience. The biggest issue that is at hand is whether technology has made individuals more independent (being able to navigate a location through software’s, such as Seri on their iPhone) or less independent (no longer trusting your natural instincts, and immediately running to Google Search or a GPS device). Is technology making us feel trapped and less independent? Or is it giving younger individuals more leeway to be independent and not as co-depend on their parents? Are we living the true human experience by being ourselves on an online game, yet hiding our identity through a username? Or what about how much of our personal lives do we choose to reveal through Facebook versus a LinkedIn account. Do the two opposite profiles go hand-in-hand or are they really viewed as separate forums? Is there something to be said by missing body language and tone of voice when you’re online? Overall, are you really you, through technology?
(Sarah Brown)

The class discussion on Tuesday was very fascinating for me, mainly due to the fact that I have learned a good deal about how different people deal with technology in different ways. Some people are very connected to their technologies, and are unable to function on a personal level outside said technologies; to a certain degree I feel like this is true for most of us. I think a very valid point that surfaced was how often people wrote letters - actual paper letters that go through the mail. Most people haven't written a letter in the last few years at least, and that is mildly shocking, seeing as people now use technology to send letters, birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. Another interesting point that came across through debate in class was the idea that Facebook was also very comparable to virtual stimulation games in the sense that you have an "avatar" of sorts for both. I agree that in virtual reality you have a certain lack of accountability for your actions, so you can truly be yourself, whereas on Facebook, people know who you are, and you are accountable for everything that you say and do. But this accountability is only one of the things that we must hide behind on Facebook, because we are also responsible for putting an image out there that expresses ourselves, and we want to make sure, that just like an avatar, it is an idealized image of ourselves that will help us make more friends and gain popularity. In this way, we are part human, and part avatar, this fictional, other image that we have created to express our "self" in this virtual reality that we are slowly slipping into.
(Katie Winand)