Growing up online

Our generation is more or less inseparable from computers/internet/media. We are the first to grow up with such technology and have an unprecedented familiarity and dependence upon it. PBS created a documentary exploring the world and life of this high-tech generation. Here are reponses to Mr. Jones’ questions.

#1 In what ways would you need to change your routine in order to disconnect yourself from all media (i.e. no TV, no Internet, etc.) What problems would you encounter if you unplugged for one day? One week? One month?

I would have to get rid of all of my laptops. (TV is not a problem because there is none at my house anyway.) This would be catastrophic for me, since I receive much of my homework online (for example, AP Bio), and internet use is essential for me to do journalism work. If only for one day, I would somehow get by, except that I wouldn’t be able to complete my homework – this blog post, for instance! But if I unplug for more than a week, then I’d run into all kinds of nasty problems, not only related to school work, but also with college admissions. I would in effect be disconnected from everything for which I cannot be physically present.

To force me to disconnect at length means to be…

“Killing me softly” (by The Fugees)


#2 How many hours per week do you estimate you spend on Facebook or similar personal networking sites? What are the benefits and disadvantages of using these sites?

Facebook is the first personal networking site I’ve ever signed up for; I was far to lazy for Xanga and Myspace back in the days. And even so, I spend very little time on Facebook, again because I’m so lazy to reply to others’ messages or posts and look through everyone’s photos. Eventually, I stopped updating anything Facebook and closed down my wall. This isn’t to say that such sites as Facebook don’t have benefits. In fact, they provide one of the easiest, efficient, and effective ways to keep in touch with everyone, especially those who are overseas – say, the alumi. One can easily see what the others are up to and how their lives are, which adds to a sense of “connection” between friends or acquaintances. On the other hand, these sites are undeniably stalker-ish sometimes. For example, Facebook reports every who’s-going-out-with-who and who-broke-up-with-who information, which I think is a bit intrusive.

#3 To what extent are you aware of viral marketing, the use of “advertorials” (presenting advertisements as editorial content), or direct marketing on Facebook and other social networking sites?

Because I’m not the most avid fan or user of social networking sites, I’d have to say that I don’t know much about the use of “advertorials”; I never quite had the interest. However, generally I do know, perhaps instinctively, which content is “safe” or has the appropriate credentials. This I think is true for most people; although we are not completely informed about the marketing aspects, after spending more than half of our lives on the net, we tend to know what to take – or not take – at face value.

#4 Personal response based on your individual viewing of “Growing Up Online”.

I would have to say that although there certainly were interesting points with which I could relate or sympathize, the teens featured in the documentary are far more deeply immersed in the cyberspace than SISers generally are. For example, Jessica lived a completely separate and different life on the internet from that in reality, and she identified far more strongly with her cyber identity. Essentially, only the resources of the Internet could sufficiently allow her the freedom to express and reinvent herself, which the real world failed to do. However, I cannot believe that there is any SISer who lives a life on the Internet that is different from the real one to such a degree. Perhaps the atmosphere at SIS, due to obvious reasons like ethnic homogeniety, is less prone to cause students to feel alienated or lost… This point is probably debatable.

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~ by stephanieec on January 14, 2009.

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