Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Digital Nativism

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Digital nativism can be defined in a variety of ways, the most simple probably being those of us that have grown up in the digital society that we are currently living in. Those that did not, such as our grandparents and even partially our parents, Marc Prensky defined as, “pre-iPod humans or digital immigrants.” Although these definitions are not the most conscientious, he is not far from the truth. Those of us that are younger have a leg up on those that are older. With the advancements in technology, we are more easily able to adapt than our seniors. Once those that are 40 and over retire, I think that the workplace is going to be far more vast and different than it even is right now.

Prensky did not necessarily view his research from an unbiased stand, which is pretty clear from the vast amount of counterarguments.The one that I found the most interesting was the linking of Dr. Perry’s research and discoveries to that of his own claims. Although I have no research to back it up, I would not be surprised if our brains are different than our parents. Our thinking is clearly different, and for the most part, we are able to seamlessly adapt to the many technological changes that have come our way so far. Stereotypes are not always completely truthful, but that does not mean that there isn’t any truth to them. I think that age groups can be split up and examined differently; middle schoolers today were exposed to technology even sooner than current college students are, making me think that there very well could be significant differences between even our brains and ways of thinking.

Overall, Prensky’s article grouped vast majorities together that did not necessarily work. However, I think that he was on the right track with his thinking. For now, I don’t think that enough research has been conducted to support his claims. But in the future, I think that some will prove his opinions (for his lack of research ultimately makes his article opinion based), and this article will not be seen from such a negative light afterward. These “simple groupings” that he wrote about will be able to be expanded upon, making them more complex and reliable. I think that a better and more appropriate article can be written backing up Prensky’s claims. But until then, we will have to do our own research to support what it’s like to be a digital native, and how it truly affects us.

“Making New Media Make Sense”

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

The article “Making New Media Makes Sense” brought up a lot of interesting arguments and theories that have been supported and also not supported by various researchers. There is no way to specifically gauge what impact new media has on us, although we know that it encourages us to change with it. Up to this point, I have never thought about new media without actually having media or technologies to use. But when the article brought up oral culture, it made me think about how much we as humans have had to adapt due to our inventions. That is something I find truly interesting about human nature; the endless adaptations we have made, many times for simplicity and convenience.

Technology especially affects people when it is new to them. As the article said, “Rather than ‘using’ it, people may be ‘used by it.’” The struggles and frustrations it can cause are unmatched; we can’t stand it when our phone doesn’t load something in the first five seconds. Our human nature has become impatient and easily bothered by such little things due to technology, that it is ultimately impacting our social life. But because of the world we live in, there is always some form of technology than can make things better.

Everything that supports the theory of technology imprinting on the user was especially interesting to me. The power it can hold on our psyche is unfathomable, but I can see it in my own life. If I don’t have my phone, I feel like I’m missing something. Social media has become something that I keep checking, even though hardly anything has changed since when I last looked at it ten minutes prior. Social spaces are separated by this media, making me question how physically close people really are. Technology has the power to control every aspect of our life, and this article, and especially this class has really opened up my eyes to what is going on and searching for a reason. I am asking “Why?” now and I think that that is truly important.

Reflexive Essay

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

The evolution of computers and society’s way to adapt to them has been, and will continue to be ever changing. I decided to look at my life and what has motivated my computer usage. It seems like advancements and the introduction of new apps and games has encouraged my computer use to grow.. From the bulky computer to my current smartphone, my life is drastically different. The dependence that I have, and that others have on computers is really interesting. I think that this sense of dependence has grown with the urge to have the newest and best product in the market. I think that society plays a huge role in this, which makes taking a closer look at one’s own life that much more interesting and telling.

As far as home computers go, I remember having a bulky white one in my dad’s office. It might have been a Dell, but I really don’t know now. The back of it was huge; really jutted out from behind the screen. I would say that neither me nor my three brothers used it for much other than games. I know that we played 3D Pinball and Solitaire once we figured out how, and we loved doing it. This was probably when I was around 10, so my brothers had Gameboys, and I typically used the computers for games. I would say around this point in my life, circa 2006, our household electronics consisted of that computer, two Gameboys, our home phone and my parents cell phones.

I would say sometime around 2007, so when I was 11 years old, gaming was becoming pretty big in the household. My older brothers (who were 13 and 15) had moved on to having a Playstation and my younger brother (around 6) and I had Nintendo DS’s. I have almost always been closer to my little brother despite our five year age difference, so it made sense that we played the same games. Besides the computer with emailing and phones with texting, I think that the Nintendo DS was one of the first devices that allowed for communication between our devices. Granted you had to be in the same house and in the same “chat room,” but I remember it was really fun to use.I think that this is significant, because although we were not playing on the computer as much, this was the newest form of technology that took up most of our attention.

Also around this time was when Webkinz was getting really popular. Basically you bought a stuffed animal and it had an access code with it. So you would go to, login your code, and that stuffed animal was now your virtual pet. For every animal you had, you would get a new bedroom in your “house” and other perks. So basically, the more webkinz you had, the more money you could “spend” online. There were games you could play to earn money, chat rooms available to talk to other kids, and stores to buy your Webkinz the cutest clothes. My little brother and I both had a bunch, so we would end up fighting over who got to go online and play. At this point, it was the most I had been using the computer.

I was in seventh grade in 2009-10, and I think that a lot of technological changes were happening around this time. My family finally upgraded our computer to a thinner screen. It was probably easier to use, but I don’t really remember now. At this time, I was 13, so I had just gotten Facebook and an email, which upped my computer usage time. I probably did not talk to that many people, I just thought that I was cool to finally have a Facebook. I know for a fact that I pretty much just played all of the games on the site. Even though I was older, I definitely still played Webkinz, I think that all of my friends did, too. We just refused to admit it to each other and played in private.

This was also the year that I had gotten my first cell phone. It was a really basic flip phone, but I thought that it was the coolest thing. My parents had RZR’s around this time, which I remember envying so much. I don’t know why, maybe it was because everyone on TV had one, and since my parents had them, I thought that it was obtainable. Just like how I did not talk to many people on Facebook, I did not have that many people to text. I went to a private Catholic School, so I literally had one good friend who also had a cell phone. I think that I had it more or less so my mom knew when to pick me up from practice.

In late middle school and early high school, a lot of changes were happening; I went from a flip phone to two different sliding phones with the full qwerty keyboard back to back. The newer slide phone and some internet access. I would have had this when I was 16 (2012), because I remember being able to drive. I could access my Facebook but it was incredibly slow. I don’t think that I could do much more than view the homepage and maybe post a status (which I hardly ever did/do), but at the time, it was great because I finally had mobile access to social media. The next phone I had was all touch screen and using the internet was much simpler. Once this ease of access occurred, I began using Facebook much more often, and primarily used that cell phone rather than my laptop.

In either the late spring of 2014, I got my first smartphone, the iPhone 5S. I believe that the 6 was almost available at this time, but I opted out of getting it because the features weren’t make or break enough for me to wait to get a new phone for another six months. I would say that for me and most people, getting the first smartphone is a turning point for a variety of reasons. One would be the ease of having access to information at all times. Another being that it was more convenient to call and text your friends without using up minutes (since most plans didn’t run like that anymore). The integration of the smartphone into the every day person’s pockets is when new communication technologies became extremely prevalent.

Now, after having all the information I can possibly have at my fingertips, I feel completely attached to my phone. I would feel lost if I did not have it on me. This connection we have with our phones is not uncommon; I’m sure that most people feel the same way I do. I try to ignore the notifications when I’m with friends, but ultimately fall victim to that urge to check my phone. I also know that it probably won’t change. The way we as humans function in society requires this convenience and constant access to the outside world. I also believe that this will only increase as the next generation, who grew up with iPads and smartphones, gets into higher education and furthers their careers. Who’s to know what communication will be like within the next few years? The thought of monumental changes is daunting, but with as many changes as I have had in my 21 years, I know that the threat is real.

Feature Story

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

In a world full of reality TV based on finding your one true love, it can be challenging to meet new people, no matter what the age. For female college students, apps such as Bumble and Tinder prove useful in meeting new people. Most students have had either or both apps at one point in time, and both still remain popular today. For middle aged women, online dating sites such as are popular in that people pay to use them. Although this might seem ridiculous to some, others like it because if someone is paying for a service, they are much more likely to take it seriously.

Sarah Burton, Kristen Holtan and Olivia Moorhouse are all juniors at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. All three women downloaded Tinder when they were going into their freshman year of college because they heard a lot about it and thought that it would be an easy way to meet new people. The three agreed that other than meeting possible friends at this time, they were not looking for anything romantically driven.

On the other hand, sisters Holly and Chris Nelson are not looking for friends anymore. Chris is 52 and Holly is 49 years old, making them both single, middle-aged women. Both feel that they have enough friends at this point, and would only be dating if they are romantically interested. Chris had recently joined, and has chatted with a few men that share similar interests. After being on the site for less than two months, she has already found someone that she enjoys being around. Holly has not joined any online dating services. She said, “I don’t feel ready to do it quite yet.” Which is relatively normal in our technologically driven world.

The college students also share different opinions on the overall experience of dating apps. Moorhouse is somewhat of an avid user and has met a few new people through both apps. Regarding who she decides to meet she said, “It’s usually somebody who can hold a good conversation and shows that their genuinely interesting and we have things in common. All of that generally makes it more comfortable to hang out with in person.” While Moorhouse feels comfortable meeting people from online, Holtan does not. She said, “I didn’t really see the point in it, I’d rather meet people in person so I actually know who I’m talking to.” Tinder and Bumble are both relatively safe, but just like any other app or website, privacy remains a top concern.

There is a clear difference between the interests of a 20 year-old college student versus a middle-age mother. Despite their common differences, all of the women stressed that their biggest concern was knowing if who they were speaking to online was really who they said they were. No matter how they feel, it all boils down to the safety that sites and apps are able to provide. The common trend of online dating will continue to be very popular as secure sites are upgraded and managed to the best of their team’s abilities.

The Final Stretch

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

As this semester is coming to an end, a time of reflecting begins. I think that this course has put a lot of information in a certain light for me. I have always been interested in sociology, and I think that new communication technologies relates to it a lot. Humans have certain tendencies, and some are hard to explain. As our technologies have developed, so have our minds and our usage of these resources.

I think that the bell curve of newcomers, laggards, etc. is really accurate when it comes to people and their dependence on technology. I think that for those that post a picture on Instagram almost every day feel a need for acceptance, and in our society, acceptance has boiled down to likes and comments. Selfies define that need, to dress up and look good for no one to see it but your followers. I had a friend like that in high school; she would literally dress up and put a whole face on of makeup just to take selfies to post at a later date. That was always really odd to me, but I think that I understand the need to do it now.

This class has reaffirmed my suspicions, and has helped me understand why people are the way they are. New communication technologies are almost the base of a lot of human actions. It is incredible to think that technology has that sort of hold over mankind. We see it happening with the next generation, in middle schoolers that have had a smart phone for years, and they are already more dependent than us. It is interesting to think about the future. I am a planner, so sometimes I think about what my own children will be like with the technology that will be available at the time. The future is scary, but the future of technology might be even scarier.

Conducting Research

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Research is a necessary topic in almost every single college class. Because of this, it ends up becoming very redundant. But, I have a few professors that I thoroughly enjoy because of the passion they exude when lecturing their classes. Those professors are typically involved in publishing a lot of their research. I know that it is a requirement for some, but not all of them talk about it as much as others. I think that those are the professors who stand out to me the most over the last three years I have spent on this campus.

Now the downside to professors like that is that sometimes they expect the same out of their students. Just because this specific concept is something that they find completely interesting, does not mean that the students also do. Plus, the majority of us definitely don’t find the actual research as exhilarating as some of them do. Yes, I do find it interesting to learn new things. No, I don’t have the will power to sit and read a thirty page article about one specific concept.

I think that a middle ground should always try to be reached between students and professors when it comes to research. Some professors have way too high of standards. It is genuinely difficult to find 10 sources for a research paper. Especially when they can’t all be journal articles. The papers that I only have to have 3-5 sources for are much stronger than one with ten, because it is so challenging to find ways to integrate each into one paper.

The other problem is the some professors seem to think that our library resources are a godsend. The truth is… it isn’t. Most of the full length articles can’t even be read electronically. And most of us aren’t going to mess around with it for more than five minutes to try to figure it out. We live in a time where most of us have little patience, and when it comes to not finding what we want fast enough, there’s no hope. And it gets worse with the students that are younger than us, they are even more impatient, so good luck with that.

The Challenges of Interviews

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

As a journalism major, I have done my fair share of interviews. Whether it was a student, faculty or friend, some people struggle more than others when “put on the spot.” I have even interviewed our Chancellor, which was an amazing experience and even better interview. My job as a journalist is to make the interviewee as comfortable as possible, but that can be hard sometimes. No matter how reassuring you are, some people can’t get over the initial fright of the camera in front of them, which makes my job that much harder.

I had some of these problems when I was doing my video interviews for our feature story. Like I said, some people are camera shy, especially when they know that a stranger is going to be watching them. I will most likely be changing the names of some of my interviewees. I explained to them that my professor would be the only one seeing it besides myself, but they still did not like that. So, I will have to brainstorm to come up with a few fake names once I begin writing.

For the most part, I did not struggle to find people to interview. I reached out to friends of friends essentially. So, I really don’t know that much about them. I just wanted to find female college students that have had a dating app downloaded at some point in the last few years. It’s most likely because I did not know them that well that they were more uncomfortable sharing intimate details of their lives, which is perfectly understandable. Finding time to interview five people within a week or week and a half time frame was also difficult. But hopefully, my feature story will turn out as well as I hope.

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Sometimes I think about what it was like for our parents when we were in school. Can you believe that they actually had to research what they were doing? There was no Google that led them to an answer in under one second. There was no way of quickly finding information in general. But here we are. Living in a world where we can find an answer as quickly as we can type it. Isn’t that something?

This quickness, this knowing information right away, seems like it’s a good thing. But it has already made me question whether or not I am smarter because of it. I think that in general, I have more knowledge than my parents did, because I can find information right away. But because it’s so easy to find, does that make me less smart? I don’t have to put much effort in, and I find the most convenient way to do it, which seems smart. But this information is almost as quickly lost, which begs the question, “Is Google making us stupid?”

This article did not really solve the answer to the question. In ways it does, in ways it doesn’t. Some also argue that the internet makes you smarter. I really do see it from both ways, and I think that the more we find ourselves face deep in these glowing screens, the more research will be done, and the more answers we will have. Until then, I hope that I am not getting any dumber!

“Why I Just Asked my Students to put their Laptops Away”

Monday, February 12th, 2018

I found Clay Shirky’s article to be utterly refreshing. As college students, we really are asked to be able to complete this and that all by a certain date. Most of us have a job or two, so finding the time to do something and do it will is not always possible. As he said, “multi-tasking is bad for the quality of cognitive work, and is especially punishing of the kind of cognitive work we ask of college students,” which proves my point.

With this technologically advanced world we live in, I understand that we have to use our technology. I also know that my generation learns better when professors don’t require us to sit down and read fifty pages of a textbook. Most of us can’t do it because our attention spans are nothing compared to what our parents possess. We are used to immediate satisfaction and keeping things short, so long lectures and readings don’t allow us to learn in the way that we need.

Something that is better will always come along, I know that whenever I feel my phone vibrate, or think that it did, I have to look at it right away. It almost eats at me until I do it. I can guarantee that any student that has a Macbook sits in a lecture and texts for half of the time, because it goes unnoticed. Most of us with PC’s know it’s obvious to have a phone out, so we don’t do it, out of respect I hope. My favorite quote of the whole article is, “It’s me and them working to create a classroom where the students who want to focus have the best shot at it, in a world increasingly hostile to that goal,” because if we are willing to put in the effort (which some students are not), we will be able to learn, and to learn well.

Facebook is Making us Lonely

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

As someone that believes that social media is isolating us more and more every year, I found this article very interesting. We have gotten so used to turning to our computers for conversation, rather than calling or seeing others face to face. As the article said, we are living in isolation, although most cannot go without having a phone in hand for more than a few hours. This need for connectivity is ultimately driving us toward loneliness. We have more and more socialization, but yet we have less of a society. Are we really connected with others if it’s digitally and not physically?

As we wait for contact, rather, some form of virtual contact, we wait and wait, “transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response.” This anticipation is what drives people crazy. As humans, we need to socialize and to find acceptance. But when our crush doesn’t respond, or we don’t get the likes that we were hoping for, we are driven further and further from that interaction, because we just want to be accepted, and we can’t always find that. “We should recognize that it is not just isolation that is rising sharply. It’s loneliness, too. And loneliness makes us miserable.”

I believe that now, more than ever before, social media and new communication technologies give people a false sense of acceptance. People don’t know how to make themselves happy anymore. They think that because they move somewhere new, or start a different job that they will automatically become happy, but that’s not true. “According to a major study by a leading scholar of the subject, roughly 20 percent of Americans—about 60 million people—are unhappy with their lives because of loneliness.” Loneliness has become an epidemic, and until “real life” can be distinguished from the one that people create online, this problem won’t change.