Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Touch through Tech

I have heard a lot in the news lately about people disconnecting or tuning out because of Tech. The Daily Herald recently published an article entitled Toys creating distance.

The ideas in the article certainly can be true, but it isn't always so. I recently took a new job and was introduced to twitter. Twitter allows me to follow friends and recieve text message updates. It also allows me to send a 'tweet' to all my followers (sometimes referred to as tweeple or tweeps) One thing that has happened is I have been able to reconnect with a colleague Darren Draper. He has a lot of good things to say and last weekend I commiserated with him during his Stats test. I couldn't actually help him since I don't know a 't score' from a tea cozy, but this demonstrates what I think also happens with tech. People are learning to touch through tech. We follow each other. We listen to each other. We know each other. I have recently also added some Facebook buddies friends folks. People I hadn't seen since high school. I honestly was reluctant because my memories of high school were of these people largely ignoring me or worse .... but it has not only been painless it has actually been more rewarding than I imagined.

Students are doing this. They touch through tech. Our community may not include only people we know and see face to face but the people we interact with online. With more and more tech available the formation of online communities will only get bigger and more important to the members of that community. The 'toys' actually can encourage interaction. In one study adolescents were shown to switch from asynchronous text messaging to synchronous methods like instant messaging and f2f discussions:
To study the communicative
purposes of text messaging, one study asked
ten adolescents (five boys and five girls) to
keep a detailed log of the text messages that
they sent and received for seven consecutive
days. Analysis of the message logs revealed
three primary conversation threads: chatting
(discussing activities and events, gossip,
and homework help), planning (coordinating
meeting arrangements), and coordinating
communication (having conversations about
having conversations). The teens ended most
text conversations by switching to another
setting such as phone, instant messaging, or

The article was talking specifically about consuming media while walking, commuting or being out in public. I actually agree with one comment strongly. By being involved in my iPod I can maintain my personal space and privacy even when I have to be out with others. This is a defense mechanism that protects us when we are nervous or even slightly afraid in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable space.

I do advocate unplugging, at least once in awhile, but for the most part tech allows us to touch, to create new relationships and strengthen others. I txt my wife regularly now and when our schedules were off I would often talk to her on the phone while I drove to work and she drove home from work Tech can help us touch, connect and relate to both our bigger community and our f2f friends. Now if you will excuse me I need to tweet my tweeps esp my wife.

Reference nod:
Title: Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships
Author: Subrahmanyam, Kaveri; Greenfield, Patricia
Journal: Future of Children
Publication Date: 20080101
Pages: 119(28)
Subject: Internet; Adolescents; Interpersonal Relationship; Anxiety; Time; Privacy; Computer Mediated Communication; Telecommunications; Electronic Equipment; Word Processing; Electronic Mail; Social Networks; Context Effect
ISSN: 10548289
Source: Future of Children, v18 n1 p119-146 Spr 2008
Volume: 18
Issue: 1
Abstract: Publication Type : EJ Language : English AN : EJ795861

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I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

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