social interaction

If you look at the social interaction styles of UT students today and ten years ago, they are vastly different. In today’s student environment, we head home after a long day and turn on our computers. Almost instantly, IM opens up connecting us to many of our friends who are online at the same time. We then turn to Facebook and are able to see what new is going on in everyone’s life.
We connect to the acaedemic world through Blackboard and e-mail.
All this while sitting at home.
Ten years ago, it would have been possible to use e-mail, if you were one of the people who add one of the very first accounts. Perhaps grad students? I’m not sure if undergrads had university e-mail accounts. Even if they did, you could only check it if you had Internet access and it is most likely that you had to be on campus to do that or perhaps use UT’s old dial-in Telesys network. I’m not sure of when each of these things came online so I could be completely off.
Without the Internet, establishments like Spyderhouse or Metro or JP Java’s or any of the number of coffee shops around Austin surely saw an increase of patrons. Libraries would have many more people slaving away trying to finish a report.
While the Internet opens up a world of information to us and can aid us in multi-tasking different projects- I’m switching back and forth from writing this and writing an e-mail now- it also greatly reduces our actual time of face-to-face social interaction.
For example, in a class I’m about to drop (no worries- I’m taking 17 hours and I’m reducing that load to 14), we are assigned to various groups. Long ago, these had to meet in person to work on various assignments. Through meeting, you’re able to actually meet them and find out more about them. Today, all group work is done online and since the class is so large, I have no idea who in this class are these group members I am supposed to work with. Since we’ll never meet in person, I’ll learn nothing more about them besides their thoughts on sociological theory.
Well, I could Facebook them.
But, if I just Facebook them, I only see one aspect of them. I only see what they think of themselves and only what they want other people to see. Some of the best friendships are developed through sometimes seeing other people not at the top of their game and this new online world redues the chances for that.
In a related post, I speak of how technology is starting to control us and how we must prevent this from happening. This point is very true in social interaction. We can slowly remove ourselves from the physical society and attempt to exist almost only in the virtual world.
Speaking of, the professor just wanted in. Time to get back to the physical world.






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