New Media & Digital Culture (History of the Smartphone (Alan Lightman…
New Media & Digital Culture
History of the Smartphone
Alan Lightman claims it is ironic how science and technology was developed to bring us closer to nature, yet it has only separated us. Most contact today is through some sort of technology, imposing a psychological impact on all its users.
Lightman describes how we try to be two places at once: present in our surroundings and in the digital world in our phones, but it is impossible. He says people are "focused not on the environment around them but on the disembodied voice coming from a small box."
Texting is the most preferred means of communication, with the number of texts sent in America increasing by 450% in the past few years.
The beginning of advancement of technology was cartography--not only drawing what we see but also drawing what we know. What maps have done for space is what clocks have done for time. With the invention of the clock, technology began controlling us. Both of these technologies show how technology has been dictating us from almost the beginning of time.
According to Carr, technology can be divided into four categories: (1) physical strength, (2) range or sensitivity of our senses, (3) reshaping nature and (4) "intellectual technologies." "Intellectual technologies" extend our mental power and have the greatest and long-lasting influence over how we think.
"Google Knowing" is the universal way of how we know things today; this is knowledge acquired online.
Introduction of New Media
Marshall McLuhan is a patriarch of media criticism whom studies the effects technology has on human beings and their relationships with one another. He coined the term "global village" and "the medium is the message." McLuhan believed in the extension and amputation of the smartphone.
An extension is when an individual or society uses something in a way that extends the range of the human body and mind. Every extension has an amputation, which is the loss or deterioration of a skill.
Technological Determinism, coined by Thorstein Veblen, is a theory which concludes that a society's social structure and values is shaped around the technology in a given society. This is the belief that technology is the main reason we progress in history and why social changes occur.
Karl Marx believed in technological determinism, believing that social relations and cultural practices ultimately revolve around the technology of a given society.
Social Shaping of Technology (SST) is the counterargument to Technological Determinism. SST is a theory that believes that society and technology work together with society influencing the technology made, not technology dictating society. SST is the belief that technology and society are "mutually constitutive."
Film Theory Criticisms
Formalist Approach examines the narrative structure and form of the film (characters, plot development, etc). It discusses the effects of techniques (camera angle, cinematography, editing, sound) on the viewer.
Realist Approach examines how a film represents reality by discussing cinematic techniques and how they represent the reality the filmmaker wants the audience to experience (insanity, love, hope, etc).
Contextualist Approach considers the film as part of a broader context: the particular time and place in society that influenced the film. Sub-criticisms such as Feminist, Marxist or Dualist can be included in this approach as well.
: Film Analysis
I analyzed the film,
, using the contextualist approach. I said that Spike Jonze uses the film as a social commentary on how Theodore filling a void in his life with technology is fairly similar to how we do the same thing with technology. I believe Jonze used the era we live in today for influence of the film.
Jonze believes that advancing technology is aimed to integrate society and make socialization inevitable but in reality it causes us to become isolated from the world around us.
Marvel App Project
This was a project assigned during this course that made us design a mobile app using Marvel that will benefit the CCU student population. The app had to identify a problem and provide a solution.
For my app, I created an app called "Gym Tracker." "Gym Tracker" allowed CCU students to view what workout machines were available, how many people were at Coastal's gym at the time they checked the app, find a workout buddy who also had the app and reserve a workout machine for a maximum of thirty minutes.
Technology's Impact on Memory
With the digital library online, we must learn how to read with appropriate skepticism, assess whether something is trustworthy or not, and be responsible for the use of our data and other peoples. Abby Rumsey declares we must be able to identify the source of information, evaluate its truth value, authority and authenticity.
The digital library has put tons of information at our fingertips which has changed not only our knowledge but our memory as well. We have adapted as a society to not remember the content of this information but where this information is stored and how to find it.
The study, "Google Effects on Memory," used by Rumsey says "we have become dependent on [computers] to the same degree we are dependent on all the knowledge we gain from our friends and co-workers. The experience of losing our Internet connection becomes more and more like losing a friend."
The Internet Debate
Clay Shirkey believes the Internet makes us smarter; the digital media links over a billion people into the same network allowing everyone to tap into their cognitive surplus. Shirkey uses the Scientific Revolution as an example in history that mimics the way we use the Internet.
William Poundstone believes the Internet doesn't make us less informed nor misinformed but it is making us meta-ignorant. He says the Internet encourages us to create personal filters over information making it unprecedently easier to gorge on news of favorite celebrities, TV shows, etc leaving us less time and attention for information that actually matters.
Nicholas Carr testifies that the Internet makes us dumber because the Internet allows us to be everywhere at once, yet with its constant distractions and interruptions it is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers. When we are constantly distracted and interrupted, as we are online, our brains are unable to forge the strong and expansive neural connections that give depth and distinctiveness to our thinking.
The Social Debate is the controversy over whether the spread of mobile technology has made people more sociable or less sociable.
Larry Rosen, a psychology professor, testifies that the effect of the vastly growing technology has allowed us to connect with more people in our virtual world but communicate less with those in our real world. Rosen believes that if we are constantly checking in with our virtual worlds, little time is left for our real-world relationships
Keith Hampton argues technology is enriching our relationships and the rest of our social lives. He argues technology has made communication more persistent and pervasive. Social ties that once were abandoned after leaving high school, changing jobs or simply moving are now kept and are persistent online.
A study, conducted by Timothy Wilson, allowed participants to either think about whatever they wanted or chose a prompt to think about during the "thinking period." In both tests, 50% of participants did not enjoy this experience.
Participants were given the option to electrically shock themselves during this "thinking period;" the study found that 67% of men and 25% of men electrically shocked themselves rather than just sit in the lab room and think.
These results could be accounted for by boredom, trouble controlling one's own thoughts, or not having their phone: "going dark."
When you are away from your phone and become "bored," you are more likely to idle which allows you to be reflective. When someone is reflective, an individual is more creative, observant, and at their full potential.
Technology Mindfulness Project
The Technology Mindfulness Project, created through Medium, was an assigned project throughout the course where we posted blog entries every week reflecting on our smartphone usage and how it affects our daily lives.
Our smartphone usage was monitored with the app, Moment, and at the end of the course we reflect on the data Moment has collected for us over the past four months.
This project forced us to be mindful and more aware of our smartphone usage throughout the course. My views of smartphone usage drastically changed while doing this project.