Living is easy with eyes closed

GMAIL_SCREENCAPMAY

So it’s been fairly cloudy today with temps hitting the high 80s F, but I can finally rest a little easier. With the summer semester over, I can enjoy the remainder of summer and hit up all the fun spots in this gorgeous city! I’m super excited to inject some excitement into the rest of these dog days, but will really miss both of my classes. While they were incredibly challenging, I feel these 10 weeks went by really quickly. One class in particular taught me so much about the shifting landscape of our emerging social technologies through theory, philosophy, human behavior, and the meaningful interactions we construct through these mediums. It was pretty fantastic and made me reflect so much more about what networks we use, our motivations and how we use them.

Through this particular field of study, I have found great value and a newfound appreciation for some of these networks because of the meaningful connections fortunately forged. The internet has fast became a tool in connecting with people of like minds in a participatory kind of culture that embeds a broad set of connections through the scientific progress of a Web 2.0 experience.

One such aspect of social media I love using more than others is instant messenger, also known as IM. Not only does it offer so many advantages over e-mail, SMS or traditional networks like quick and effective communication without delay, but it’s cost effective, discreet and opens up conversation to a more clear and concise dialogue when you really need answers as it reduces the chances of a misunderstanding. I often find you can have a better conversation with the people you need to connect with thanks to instant messenger’s ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love texting with my friends and conversing in short bits on Twitter and Facebook, but IM has always been my favorite form of online communication. After all, I’ve had some of the best conversations with my best friends on this medium—especially in these last few months, when I needed it most (and of course, them too).

There are some people who don’t use social media—like, at all. And I mean, they are on not a single network. (I’m not talking email either.) Some of these folks go so far to say, “social media sucks,” or “it’s fake,” but that’s just because they don’t understand it or realize its incredible benefit to our social and digital ecosystem. A recent study deemed those without social media as “suspicious,” while an in-class lecture brought up how such a behavior of a “self-imposed exclusion” is indicative of a greater problem and presents an untrustworthy aspect of character. The latter might seem a little extreme, but I do see how cutting yourself off from every network when you were once an active user, whether deleting or deactivating from any form of communication with the outside world as a validation to your own limitations in growing, expanding and gaining a better perspective of life outside your norm. It’s not a defiance of the times at all. I think, if you’re headstrong, confident and self-aware with a strong spine of your motivations of being online, social media can be an incredible accent to strengthening relationships, an effective method in understanding others, gaining perspective on this beautiful world, and the connections we make through conversation.

But alas, as The Beatles sang, “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.”

Do you deem it “suspicious” when someone doesn’t have ANY form of social media to connect with friends? What social networks do you use to connect?

{Title inspired by The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”}
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