The article titled, “It Takes a Village to Find a Phone” describes the social networking strategies one person utilized to retrieve a stolen phone. When the girl who now possessed the stolen phone refused to return it, the original owner’s friend then created a webpage dedicated to providing updates of the situation, which was shared and forwarded around the internet, quickly gaining popularity and even national attention. After weeks of press coverage and communication with the followers of the situation, the girl who refused to give it back and the NYPD, the phone was successfully returned to its rightful owner.
The article titled, “Love Online” discusses how courtship has changed due to the Internet, and how younger generations are making connections and forming relationships with others online. The author analyzes long-distance relationships in the past to those of today, like his son’s; studying the ways communication between partners has changed with the integration of the Internet in our daily lives.
Both articles show how new technology affects the kinds of ways people can form groups. Social media groups can unite people with similar interests or beliefs; providing a space for discussion among those who share similar views around the world. As addressed in Professor Wachanga’s notebook piece posted on D2L, in a world of media convergence, there’s something out there for everyone. For example, the author of “Love Online” discusses how his son connected with his future girlfriend through an electronic pro-wrestling role-playing game, where they both shared interest in the same WWF star. This shows that even people with unique or obscure interests have a place to congregate online. If an online group doesn’t yet exist, there are multitude of resources available for people to create one themselves, as the stolen phone owner’s friend did in “It Takes a Village to Find a Phone”. The friend was able to create a space where like-minded individuals interested in returning a single stolen phone could connect and communicate with each other in pursuit of a common goal.
Tim O’Reilly’s concept of “architecture of participation” relates to how new communication technology creates a whole new world of possibilities and learning for everyday people. In the article about the stolen phone, using Internet resources like social media and search engines allowed the creator and followers of the webpage to successfully perform roles in which they have no formal training. In the article about online dating, the “architecture of participation” relates more to how the Internet has evolved society’s understanding and interpretation of dating and long-distance relationships.
Changes or advancements in communication technology have a profound effect on our society and our ways of forming groups. Stories like the one about the stolen phone would have likely gone unnoticed prior to social networking because there would be no way to share the webpage with others and have it gain significant attention or popularity, especially at a national level. There also would be no way for individuals around the country interested in following or helping the situation to collaborate with one another without a place to do so. In relation to the “Dating Online” article, society has changed in the way we understand dating and long-distance relationships. This is because we’re now able to connect and form meaningful relationships with others across the world at the click of a button.
I think everyone has different motivations for sharing information. I also believe that the platform you plan on using and the audience that will be receiving what you share plays a huge role in how you present that information. For example, if someone is looking for a serious, long-term, monogamous relationship, they likely will have better luck on an established dating website, rather than an app like Tinder, which is geared more towards people looking for more short-term dating and hook-ups. I think people are willing to share information on dating websites because they are interested in connecting with other like-minded individuals, trusting that they all share similar relationship goals. Most people can tell what the intentions of members are on different relationship-seeking platforms. If their relationship goals are more long-term and serious, I’d expect people to share more personal information about their aspirations, personality and interests because that’s what dating websites use to determine compatibility. On hook-up or casual dating platforms, the information is less personal since they assume getting to know a single person well isn’t a high priority for you.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from these articles is that advances in communication technology have a greater impact on our society than I realized. Since I grew up right as computers and internet technology were becoming more integrated into daily life, I can’t really remember a time where the main forms of communication were phone and mail. I also realize that communication technology is going to continue to evolve over my lifetime. Even though it’s hard for me to understand why my parents have so much trouble figuring out email, instant messaging, and social media, I see that much of their confusion probably stems from them growing up with a completely different form of communication technology than I did. I also know that when I reach that age, I’ll likely be just as confused by future communication technology as they are right now.