Personal Dynamic Media

“Second, the kids love it! The interactive nature of the dialogue, the fact that they are in control, the feeling that they are doing real things rather than playing with toys or working out “assigned” problems, the pictorial and auditory nature of their results, all contribute to a tremendous sense of accomplishment to their experience. Their attention spans are measured in hours rather than minutes.” (Alan Kay & Adele Goldberg)

There are mainly two quotes that really stood out to me in this nugget. “The interactive nature of the dialogue, the fact that they are in control,” It’s true. Digital media can give us this sense of empowerment. When we have a blog or something that lots of people look at, or say, we post a status on Facebook that gets a lot of likes, it makes us feel better, more empowered in one way or another. This feeling of empowerment that for some of us, may only exist online can even lead us to become obsessive about the social media we use, possibly even, to a detrimental point.

The second quote that stood out to me in this passage was actually the last sentence. “Their attention spans are measured in hours rather than in minutes.” This has been a long-running trend since the dawn of technology as far as I can see it. The more control and freedom we have over our choice of entertainment, the more our attention spans seem to drop. This resulting reduced attention span not only leads to an inability to remain focused over long periods of time, but can also lead to learning disabilities such as over-attention to insignificant details and restlessness. Keeping this in mind, I find myself questioning the implementation of social media as a learning aid. While the methods of teaching seem to be adapting to our generation, I just wonder what will become of our attention spans.

Computer Lib/Dream Machines Nugget

“But all this means that interior computer technicalities have to be SUBSERVIENT, and the programmers cannot be allowed to dictate how it is to behave on the basis of the under level structures that are convenient to them. Quite the contrary: from the fullest consideration of the richest upper-level structures we want, we the users-to-be must dictate what lower-level structures are to be prepared within…. Our goal should be nothing less than REPRESENTING THE TRUE CONTENT AND STRUCTURE OF HUMAN THOUGHT.” (Nelson)

The author says that computers should be modeled after “the true content and structure of human thought.” I think that, as of now, we have done a very good job of that. However, the more digitized we become, the more the actual structure of our minds change. With the advent of social media sites like YouTube and Facebook, our minds have started to become more and more compatible with digital media. When compared to the adults of previous generations, it’s easy to see that our behavior is more sporadic and less focused. We’re set up to skim the page for interesting/relevant information unlike our parents.

You can even see it in how social media sites are set up. Look at your Facebook. There’s a timeline with the latest thoughts of all your closest friends mixed with those of near-strangers. Next to it, you have a list of your different pages/groups with it’s own little circle of information. On the other side, you have birthday reminders, friend recommendations, and under that, adds tailored to your viewing habits, et cetera, et cetera. See my point? Not only has social media been modeled after our minds, but our minds are being modeled after it.

Questing My Dream

Currently, I am in a group with unicornblake. Her research question asks that if Facebook is very accessible and easily customizable, would that lead to more people using it frequently? Since my research has to do with, social media addiction (with a concentration on Facebook), I would say that our topics are highly compatible. Once I am caught up, this could end up being beneficial enough for the both of us, hopefully.

Augmenting Human Intellect Nugget

“In using the edge-notched-card system described, I found several types of structuring which that system could not provide, but which would both be very useful and probably obtainable with reasonably practical artifact means. One need arose quite commonly as trains of thought would develop on a growing series of note cards. There was no convenient way to link these cards together so that the train of thought could later be recalled by extracting the ordered series of notecards. An associative-trail scheme similar to that out lined by Bush for his Memex could conceivably be implemented with these cards to meet this need and add a valuable new symbol-structuring process to the system.” (D.C. Engelbart)

I’m not very sure when exactly it started but it seems that Facebook, in it’s never-ending mission to change in accordance with our wants and needs, has implemented a system that sounds very similar to that of the Memex in one of it’s many social algorithms. Whenever one of my friends shares an interesting article on Facebook, I click on it to take a look. However, the most surprising part of this is what happens when I finish reading and get back to Facebook. I find that under the article that I have just clicked on lay suggestions to other similar articles that I may find potentially interesting. To my astonishment, it worked…very well. I was tempted to read them all upon numerous instances.

This is one of the aspects in which Facebook keeps luring me back. I find that Facebook somehow knows what I want more and more every day. In one of my previous posts, I proposed that one of the reasons why we are so dependent on Facebook as a culture was because of the connections it had to other successful sites. It’s basically like the master book of social media sites. Not only does it successfully capture our interests, but it also allows us access to numerous other sites simply by owning a Facebook account and also leading us to those other interesting third party companies. Facebook is a powerful, not just because it has a lot of users, but also because of it’s resulting ties to other companies.

Dreamers Unite

So far, I haven’t really done so much research for my given topic in the course except for the 3-hours session I spent staying up to look for articles for my previous Analyzing the Obvious post. Since doing that post, my question has become increasingly clearer to the point of asking whether Facebook is either an addiction or a fad (not to say that it can’t be another option entirely, but I will just be focusing on whether the behavior of people in general would make Facebook either a passing fad or obsessive addiction). In all honesty, I’m currently very behind in this class. When I run into a problem, I can’t seem to move on until I can solve it. This can be a good thing but when taken to extremes, can wind up very bad, especially if you can’t handle the pressure of piling assignments like I couldn’t. However, if you are doing a topic similar to social media addiction and still need more sources, feel free to use any and all sources I will find as well.

Extending My Dream

Looking through all of my previous questions, I was able to break down all of my previous questions into just three main questions. “Why do we use social media?,” “What constitutes an addiction?,” and “How do fads work?” The first question can be split up into potential research on Facebook’s background and history as well as its predecessors (A.K.A. MySpace) and competitors. The second question will be the meat of my research and deal with my main question of why we use Facebook. Finally, I only mentioned the topic of the last question once but since it is a possibility that Facebook may blow over one day just like a fad, then I think that it would be worth researching. From these three questions, I have come up with my three main tags which will be “#whysocialmedia” “#addiction” and “#fads.” Are social media such as Facebook addictions or simply fads?

Connections Between the Obvious

“Why do we use Facebook?” This was the first thing I typed into the Google search bar. In yusr4’s blog post, she mentions how good research will consume a lot of time and have you search through many different topics. This search alone actually lasted for about 3 hours instead of 1 (with about 30 minutes to an hour of distractions) and had me cover topics like White Space management, an article with a psychological focus on social media addiction and even the rise and fall of MySpace.

Summer at VCU mentioned that they had a specific set of questions that they constantly found themselves wondering about. The more I searched and the more that I read, the more and more questions I had pop into my head like, “Why do people use Facebook other than other social media sites?” “How is Facebook able to connect to so many outside websites?” “Why can I login into other sites with my Facebook account?” “Why can’t I log into this site with any other social media account other than Facebook?” “How are Facebook and MySpace similar, and how are they different?”

Since I could not possibly hope to research all the questions that pop up in my head when doing the research, I chose the few that stayed fairly relevant to my topic and researched them. After reading a few articles, my main question would change bit by bit from “Why do we use Facebook?” to “How will we deal with our addiction to social media if it doesn’t collapse on it’s own?” In their own article, “Living the Dream 2014” said that they did the same thing during their search, constantly refining their question to be better with each new piece of information which I believe was the point of this exercise.

The Interpretation of Dreams

facebook-addiction 

More often than not, when I find that I have an assignment to do, my brain seems to suddenly think that barking cats are REALLY fun to watch (not that they aren’t normally…I mean BARKING CATS). Just like that, it gets really easy to become distracted by the tiniest thing, which makes Facebook and YouTube my academic nightmare, I mean, websites customized to show me things I would like? “I’m going to fail my midterm if I don’t stop using them.” Ever had that thought? You’re not the only one. Just why is it so hard to stop using social media? To answer this question, I had to ask even more questions. Why do we use social media? Why Facebook? What first got us there, and what exactly keeps us there even when we want to quit? Is this just a fad that will blow over like MySpace or is it now ingrained into our lives? Am I addicted?

Analyzing the Obvious

Social Media Addiction

“Why do people use Facebook?” Typing this into the Google search engine, I immediately got numerous answers to my question and even more unexpectedly, I even got a few scientific study on this very simple question. The biggest answers seemed to be simply to see what everyone is doing and because they were bored. Faced with so much data (destined to be repetitive after a little bit of reading), I was a little tempted to just end my search right then and say I had enough to write a paper, which I honestly could have, but even though that was the simplest question I had, it wasn’t my real question. Looking back at my Texting My Dream post, I wondered, “Are we addicted to Facebook?”

The behavior of one of my friends who has repeatedly attempted to quit using the social media site has reminded me of an addict. First, he acknowledges his life would be better without it. Second, he has quit Facebook numerous times only to come crawling back. Third, he acted even weirder than usual without his Facebook (his withdrawal symptoms or my confirmation bias?). And finally, whenever he had his Facebook, I would always notice him online late at night, which was most likely why he normally woke up around 11 AM. His is just one of what I’m sure are numerous examples, given that he might be one of the more extreme examples, but it seems that we are all, to a degree, addicted to Facebook. Even, I am stuck between deleting my Facebook or keeping it. So when will Facebook fall?

In the midst of doing all this research, one of the articles eventually mentioned Facebook being “the next MySpace.” Having never owned one myself, I decided to look into the reasons why MySpace fell, and if any of those reasons could apply to Facebook. As it turns out, it seems like there were some pretty good reasons that should have made it fairly obvious that MySpace would fall. To list just a few, the social media giant had a crappy foundation (for coding), its company spread itself too thin, and it ended up receiving a seedy image from tons of bad press. To drive the final nail in the coffin, the feature that allowed users to customize their page (which the website came to be known for) was apparently just a happy mistake. In comparison, Facebook doesn’t appear to have any of these major faults as far as I know. MySpace met its downfall in just 5 years. Facebook has been around for 8 and even though it’s showing signs of slowing down now, it’s hard to tell when it will fall without any of the glaring flaws that MySpace had. Seeing as the last “social addiction” collapsed on it’s own, I am left wondering, “How will we deal with our addiction to social media if it doesn’t collapse on it’s own?”Meanwhile-on-MySpace_o_75424