Here I am a week later, I’ve gotten back on social media and have been using it again since last Saturday. I’ve been watching how my peers are using it, I’ve been answering the stupid amount of Facebook and Twitter messages, and I have been reevaluating how much I use social media. In the last week I have only made 13 status updates on Facebook. For me this is significant as before I would make 13 updates/day.
So all week I’ve thought about social media, specifically Facebook. How much do I use it? How much do other people use it? What was the impact not using it had on me? Who has time to use it? I got back onto Facebook and Twitter this past week and found that it took an astronomical amount of time just to catch up on my notifications and messages. I had over 700 notifications and messages between Twitter and Facebook that needed looking at. I only got through 100 or so before I just gave up and sent out messages to organizations I work with, as well as posted a status up date and told them if it was important to send me a new message. Granted, most of these messages were people who couldn’t get a hold of me within a couple of hours so they send me a new Facebook or Twitter message, but it was still overwhelming. Convincing me further that people expect that instant gratification that social media provides. People expect you to be available almost 24/7. Some of the organizations I work with refused to email or call me and simply sent me messages via Facebook even though they knew I was not available.
I was speaking about this with someone who told me that she gets annoyed when she texts her son because she knows that his phone lives at his side but he doesn’t necessarily answer her for hours or even days. She said she can’t help but to expect that he will text her back immediately. Even technology is finding it hard to adapt to the culture they have created. For example, lets look at BlackBerry. RIM (the developer of BlackBerry) is having some major issues and is facing going under because people just aren’t using BlackBerry’s like they used to. Why? The answer is simple. Technology can’t keep up to what we want.
The BlackBerry technology can’t keep up to the demand. BlackBerry can’t compete with smartphones like: iPhone, Google phone, Nokia N8, and Windows phone, because it is not as good for applications (such as Facebook and Twitter) as its competition is . This is ironic because
the use of smartphones really did take off with BlackBerry in 2003 with the launch of their first smartphone that would push email through. Everyone wanted a BlackBerry. Now BlackBerry is generally seen as a piece of technology that is only good for pushing through email. My husband often refers to it as a ‘piece of junk’ commenting that “I’d even rather have an iPhone over this” (he is not an Apple person at all). The difference being is that you can do so much more with your iPhone then you can a BlackBerry. Facebook is easier to use and to see, the interface is smoother, and there are more applications on iPhone then BlackBerry. If you can think of an application I bet there is one for that. You can download applications for everything from finding the closest Starbucks location to loosing weight, you can even now download a drop box application that will allow you to pull documents off your home computer or laptop. Instant gratification.
Another example is internet usage. According to statistics Canada ”In 2009, 80% of Canadians aged 16 and older, or 21.7 million people, used the Internet for personal reasons, up from 73% in 2007 when the survey was last conducted.” As recent as 5 years ago internet providers used to promote unlimited internet as a product available. But now that people are actually using insane amounts of bandwitch downloading things, and streaming from companies like Netflix internet providers such as Shaw are starting to place caps on people’s bandwith consumption. Claiming higher costs and higher demand. The higher demand can cause a lag in the service during certain times of the day due to high usage. This could be for such internet products such as: Facebook, Twitter, online play, and streaming.
Finally my last example are services such as: Netflix, and Shaw on demand. Both of these services offer movies and TV shows without advertising whenever you want to watch them. Services such as Netflix are streamed over the internet directly to your TV. In theory these types of services could cause a real threat to cable providers. Again, instant gratification.
These examples all suggest to me that technology no longer dictates us we dictate technology. The technology itself has made us expect certain things of people, and companies. And, in turn the technology people are using. For example, I just worked on a group project for a class and one member did not have Facebook or a cell phone. Not only was it really hard to communicate with this person, we also weren’t very happy with the fact that we had to wait hours and hours to hear back from the person.
The vast majority of us also expect this out of ourselves. I often feel like I must be available to people within a short period of time. I’ve found myself answering calls, text messages, and emails at the most inappropriate times (ie- dinner with my husband) and yet I don’t think anything of it, and it is rare that anyone, other then my husband says anything about it. It’s also not unusual for me to be out with someone else for dinner and have them answer emails, texts, or phone calls while we are eating.
Technology has opened this giant can of worms that has become almost impossible to close, and some companies are struggling to keep up with the demand. Facebook is constantly finding they have to change, and expand at least yearly in order to keep from getting boring. I think the time has past for technology dictating what we want, and the time has come where we (as in the western world) is beginning to dictate to technology what we want. There is no doubt about it, we have become slaves to technology but we have become so engulfed in it that we have started to make demands of the technology and it’s having a hard time keeping up in some areas.
Up Next: Reflection Part 2
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