The Machine is Changing Us – Reflection

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I just finished watching the lecture from Michael Wesch on the influence and the cultural changes brought on by new forms of media. As a child I was very into watching television as I can recall the transformation from knob turning television through wired remotes to the HD tivo delivered delivery system of today. I can recall being heavily influenced by sitcoms especially American television series. I didn’t realize at the time how much of what I watched, listened to and wore was so dependent on social ques from the media. Immaturity played a role as I was searching for my identity in an overwhelmingly full world. Or so I thought until the internet emerged.

For the most part the internet has been a place where I checked emails and kept current on my hobbies with little to no social interaction via myspace, facebook or any other social media site. I honestly was a bit scared to put myself out on the web. To be traceable, trackable, and for others to know what I was doing at any given time was an invasion of my privacy and allowed too much of my identity to be known. I have a huge privacy issue with social sites. Needless to say the majority of my worries have been proven through the media coverage of teachers posts on social sites being called out of line on personal behaviors and some even losing their jobs. This is not to say I am into illicit behavior which I need to hide from society but I was naive to the dualistic nature that these site could be used for promotional benefit. Although I am not talking about the shallow self promoting manner which so many people choose to use this media for.

When applied in an educational context social media can be utilized to generate communities of learners, as is currently taking place around the world. I find myself pushing to expand my vocabulary and striving to speak clearly and professionally, especially when I know it is going to be posted for anyone to view. Whether I accomplish this is for the bloggers of the world to chime in on. One of the topics Micheal discussed during his lecture was the use of social media and how making connections with others can generate communities but with those connections comes constraints. The more we publish aspects of our lives the more pressure we feel to compromise to social values or perceived norms. Also this type of interaction breeds a level of reflected self awareness that makes us question the validity of our ideas. A complex social interaction based on time delayed responses has had a profound effect on my personal and professional identity and an effect of reflection which I think has served me well as I believe we are ever changing social creatures trying to make our mark on the world. However, I am still working on furthering my philosophy in this area so more to come…


2 comments on “The Machine is Changing Us – Reflection

  1. Hi Cameron – I think your reflection is very thoughtful. I follow Dr. Couros on Twitter and he tweeted about how his students were beginning to blog. Like you, I shared a lot of trepidation about putting myself out there on the web. I still am very careful – my tweets are private (i.e. you can’t google my name and find my tweets); I use a blog to teach my online AQ course students and have used blogs a bit in my high school classes. One question I have relates to your point about norms or social constraints. Social media is so new that I wonder if there are any norms developed yet? Hence the huge gap between younger and older users perhaps? And the appalling kinds of stuff that does go on?

    • ccshumay says:

      Our 2.0 identity is directly connected to our social morality and our perception of self. I believe the way we behave online is a reflection of how we behave in the face to face world. Our digital identity is an extension of our personality and how one shapes that identity speaks volumes about who they are outside of the social media sites. Its a lot like a mischievous individual seeing how much they can get away before they get caught. Media sites offer a world of obscurity and enough of a social disconnect though the lack of proximity that people feel they can do want they want with little consequence. A jerk is a jerk no matter what media they are using to get their ideas out. Since social media is fairly new and there are a lot of new younger users joining it is up the more seasoned users to set the standard for discourse. Just like parents teach their children how to behave in the face to face world so too should they teach them how to act while online. However, for the reflective practitioner this new style of delayed discourse allows for responses to be researched, edited and provides a much deeper response. I hope this style of conversation allows people to take a step back from talking points and really get into old school dialogue where perspectives are shared and intellectualism is pursued.
      As a side note I really appreciated the comment and did a little searching for articles on this topic. check it out.

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