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Constant communication: for better or for worse?

Posted By Sammie Levin On June 10, 2010 @ 3:09 am In Features | Comments Disabled

In the popular television series Gossip Girl, an anonymous blogger, “the one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite, receives “blasts of gossip about characters on the show and posts them on the internet for all to see, never failing to stir up rampant drama.

Though no blogger of this sort exists in the South community, the technology that students use on a daily basis to be in constant communication with peers can, in some cases, have a similar effect.

In the age of texting, instant messaging, Facebook, and Formspring, it only takes the click of a button to spread gossip, publicize opinions, start rumors, or generate drama.

“Gossip and drama are spread through technology because it’s faster and easier to do. I find that a lot of people will find it easier to say something on a text or on Facebook then they would in real life, junior Alex Seibel said.

Sophomore Isabelle Granahan-Field also recognizes this phenomenon and points out how problems can be caused unintentionally as well, since tone is lost in technology.

“Sometimes messages aren’t portrayed the way you mean them to be or they aren’t interpreted right, Granahan-Field said.

She also notices a new trend that has developed as a result of Facebook, explaining that “sometimes people do things and take pictures of it just to put it on Facebook.

“When people are taking pictures they sometimes are already considering who will see them, what the album title will be named, or what will be tagged, junior Yudit Bolotovsky said.

She added that this publicizing of photos has made Facebook “essentially like Gossip Girl.

Although texting is not a public exchange of information, it expedites the process of spreading gossip. “People usually text their friends the second they find out about something interesting, Bolotovsky said.

Texting can also cause drama when a text meant just for the intended receiver is shown to others, something that happens very often with instant messaging as well.

People often think that their conversations with people over texts and instant messages are completely private, overlooking the fact that whatever they are saying could be easily forwarded or copied and pasted to someone else.

This often results in increased circulation of gossip, damaged friendships, or hurt feelings.

A new site, Formspring, allows people to anonymously ask users questions about anything. Not surprisingly, this anonymity leads people to ask questions less along the lines of “what’s your favorite color? and more along the lines of “I hate you, why are you so annoying?

Technology of this sort, in eliminating the challenges or implications that come with saying something to someone’s face, lead people to feel entitled and confident to say whatever they please. Again, this can lead to drama and hurt feelings.

Despite all of these negative effects of communicating through technology, there are positive effects as well.

As cited in a recent article published in the New York Times, Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of a book called Making Friends: A Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Child’s Friendships, believes that “the electronic media is helping kids be in touch much more and for longer.

Granahan-Field supports this belief, claiming, “Facebook and texting can make relationships stronger because it lets me stay in touch with people.

In spite of the unfavorable aspects she emphasized about Facebook, Bolotovsky also finds many positive components.

“It helps me communicate with people in my classes about homework, keeps me social, is good for organizing events, and helps me get my mind off things, she said. Simlarly, junior Rachel Davidson uses Facebook “to communicate with people for schoolwork that I may have no other way of contacting.

“I think Facebook helps some people branch out and brings people closer, and I think texting is helpful because it lets me get quick answers, Davidson said.

Regardless of the pros and cons of texting and Facebook and the like, communicating through technology has become such an integral part of daily life that it seems impossible to imagine how life would continue without it.

But don’t worry Upper East Siders, this form of communication is not likely to disappear or decrease in popularity any time soon.

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Article printed from Denebola: http://www.denebolaonline.net

URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/constant-communication-for-better-or-for-worse/

URLs in this post:

[1] Hiding behind the screen: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/hiding-behind-the-screen/

[2] The Tyranny of Technology: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/the-tyranny-of-technology/

[3] Y Abbreve? Idk, mabes cuz it’s totes what evry1’s doing!: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/y-abbreve-idk-mabes-cuz-it%e2%80%99s-totes-what-evry1%e2%80%99s-doing/

[4] Denebola interviews Shelby Chamberlain, South’s Director of Information Technology: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/denebola-interviews-shelby-chamberlain-souths-director-of-information-technology/

[5] Taking a break from notifications: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/taking-a-break-from-notifications/

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