Remembering the Positives of the Digital Age

Many times after reading about the effects of technology on our lives, I feel slightly more negative than positive. I tend to focus on the negatives in terms of our mental health and consumption, however, Chayko’s chapter in Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Medial, and Techno-social life” I felt empowered to read about factual positives of social media and Web 2.0 in our lives. I was unaware of the theory that during the industrial age, we grew further apart from one another. This time period did not allow for social technology yet, so camaraderie and social connection lessoned. Once the digital age arrived, this separation was mitigated through available digital communication. Chayko explains that “in this sense, “tribes” that might once have met over a fire pit or in a village green can once again gather frequently. Their gathering place, though, is now the internet or a social media site” (Chayko, 2018, p.182)

Now, even when I am sitting in my cubicle at work, I am connected to friends, family, and interests by just a few clicks. This contributes to the world feeling smaller and more connected, even if we are connecting through a digital means. Especially with the onset of social distancing measures, it feels welcoming to know technology acts as a miraculous device to communicate.


When we now feel moments of loneliness or boredom, we have the technology to engage with. It allows a space for myself to pursue my passions as well as connect with like-minded people. This proves Chayko’s assertion that “there is always some kind of entertainment that can be sought, found, or even created online” (Chayko, 2018, p.185). Just as humans created tribes and collaborative events in the past, users replicate that process online. From virtual marathons to live stream gaming, there is no end to entertainment and connection through the digital world.

Personally, I also feel the benefits of technology when I am trying to reach out to friends or family, even when I am not physically close to them. I am (probably annoying!) habit of calling my family or friends down the list if the previous contact did not answer. No matter what time of day, I am bound to find somehow to share something with.

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3slex7

Reflecting on this phenomenon makes me feel incredibly positive about the high points of technology. We have the ability to share our lives with almost anyone at a moment’s notice. It is a seemingly small, yet powerful action at our disposal.

References

Chayko, M. (2018). Superconnected : the internet, digital media, and techno-social life. Sage Publications, Inc.

Posted on October 18, 2020, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Nathan Baughman

    Hi Bailey,
    I think you provide an insightful reflection here. It feels easy to get focused on the negative consequences of growing technology, but I think we just need to remind ourselves that we all human with social needs, and many of our inventions have come from that need. In many ways, we have used to become closer to each other. I live a considerable distance from my family, and I don’t think I would have been able to maintain what I feel like is a strong relationship with them without the use of the digital technology.

  2. Baily,

    The social aspect of digital technology is definitely something that I appreciate. My girlfriend and a good portion of my friends graduate from Stout a semester or two ago. With them, all out of the city, and my girlfriend moving back to our hometown, digital technology has made it possible to keep in touch with them. I am extremely grateful that I can video chat with my girlfriend whenever I want, especially since living by myself is a huge adjustment compared to the last 3 years that I was living with her. This social aspect must be a huge factor during the pandemic as people had to adjust to social distancing. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if we did not have this digital technology when the pandemic hit.

    Jackson

  3. Hi Bailey! Your statement “This contributes to the world feeling smaller and more connected, even if we are connecting through a digital means” struck me. I often feel this way when I browse Facebook. In particular, it is amazing how many people are linked to other people I know that I was never aware of. The friend suggestion feature has really made the world feel a lot smaller in that regard! Great post!

  4. rebeccaanderson8641

    Hi Bailey,
    I agree with you, like all things the internet has its positives and negatives. I also tend to focus more on the negatives just as a matter of principle; I think I am wary of where the digital age is taking us. However, there are immeasurable positives as well. The degree to which we can connect is unparalleled in human history and humans are undeniably social creatures. I do wonder what this level of connectivity will do to our social structures and how it may even change our brain with respect to communication. I think there is a lot of potential for growth and development in the digital space but we shouldn’t lose sight of the core tenets of human connection. Great work!

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