Troubling Technology

I have and likely always will stand by the idea that technology is a wonderful additive to the daily lives of the people and that the advancement and usage of technology is important for the future.  However, technology is a double-edged sword. There are right ways to use it, and there are wrong ways to use it. The problem with this is that people don’t know how to handle this double-edged sword. The majority of people can easily go too far off the deep end when it comes to technology. In today’s society, though, I can’t blame them.  Not only has technology become almost indistinguishable from everyday life, but with that, technology has become a lot more scary.

Photo Credit: davidstewartgets Flickr via Compfight cc

In Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, “Connected, but alone?”, she talks about the key factor on why I think technology has become ‘scary’ – it has taught us to “…expect more from technology and less from each other.” This factor is the exact reason why people are both drawn in too far and steering clear from technology. To be clear, when I am talking about people are have ‘drawn in too far’ with technology, I am mostly referring to my current age group and younger (so about 20 years and younger, give or take), though it is not only restricted to this particular age group. In Sherry’s Ted Talk, she talks about how she spoke with a younger boy who preferred texting over having a face-to-face conversation. The boy said he disliked normal conversation because you can not form your thoughts before speaking – a conversation is happening in real time. It has become so extreme that a lot today’s youth don’t know HOW to hold a conversation.

Now, I am not going to pretend that I am a conversation master, for I am not. However, basic conversational skills are imperative for day-to-day life, especially once you are an adult. For example, during both job interviews and even just during a normal day at most jobs, you will need to be able to communicate with others effectively. It is a worrying thought that some people depend so much on technology that the idea of basic conversation is terrifying to them.

One thing I have noticed over the past week is how upset people get when you try to have a discussion on the negative impacts of technology. More than one person I’ve talked with in person about technology got fairly defensive when I was talking about the downsides of it.  But again, I can’t blame them. Technology is so ingrained in our lives at this point that it’s almost like talking about the downsides of a family member – you’re attacking something important to them.

Despite the fact that I think technology can be dangerous, I think technology is also a wondrous thing. We have access to practically all the information in the world, ways to communicate with people from across the globe, and sharing and collaborating with others has never been easier. The problem is finding a balance – how much technological use is too much? Where do you draw the line? Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to say. I think it varies from person to person. The most important part about it is finding your own balance, where you can experience the wonderful parts of existing and future technologies, but still focus on the important aspects of your ‘real life’ – conversation, relationships, and more.

Embrace technology, but do not let it control you.

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My Online Presence in 2019

Going into this, I was super curious to see what my current online footprint is like nowadays. We did a very similar blog post about this last year in EDTC300, so coming back over a year later to explore what might be different now is rather exciting.

I figured I would start this post the same way I did last time – with an incognito-mode Google search! And not to my surprise, the result is pretty much the same as last years.

I am nowhere to be found!

Nothing on me. Again, Google thinks my name is being spelled wrong (suggesting Jessie over Jesse), and all the results are related to an event that actually popped up in my first search as well, albeit this time it’s an update rather than the initial reporting. However, even after browsing multiple pages, nothing comes up on me (even when changing the Google search to “Search only for Jesse Simpson”). Maybe there really are just too many Jesse Simpson’s in the world? Perhaps my digital footprint isn’t as big as I would think it is.

To avoid just having a repeat of the EDTC300 post,  the result only changes when I add my old hometown or Regina to the search, and then both my old YouTube account and my blog pop up, but I have to get rather specific while searching for myself for any meaningful results to appear. So instead of that, we should focus on specific websites to see if we cannot get any results. So let’s switch to one of the most popular social media sites of modern society – Facebook!

Screen cap of my Facebook profile

Curious enough, I can’t find my Facebook page if I am not signed in to my own Facebook account. I thought maybe I just was not scrolling enough when searching my name, but I tried copy and pasting the URL to my Facebook page and it would tell me the page could not be found (but would work just fine while signed in). I am not sure why it does this, because I do not have any settings enabled in my privacy settings to disallow people from searching my name or going to my page, so it may just be a Facebook thing.

Anyway, my Facebook page is pretty basic, as far as most Facebook pages go.  Most of my posts are either people tagging me in things or me sharing posts from pages I follow. Constantly making comments on my own life isn’t really my thing, as the people that I care about sharing my life with, I will do personally and privately. For the most part, my Facebook page is just used for keeping in touch with old friends through their posts and Messenger, and following pages that I am interested in (mostly musical groups).

Moving on past Facebook, we have my Twitter page. Looking at my most recent post, you can tell how much I REALLY use Twitter (my most recent post was December 2017. Oops!) Working on being more active in the Twitterverse is something I want to work on through this year, as even though I had set it up during my first year, I’ve used it extremely sparingly, both in sharing my own thoughts and ideas as well as browsing other peoples ideas. Regardless of how much I’ve used my Twitter page, searching my name on Twitter actually has me as one of the top search results, so my account is not hard to find. Hopefully by the end of the semester, my Twitter page will have much more professional content on it that can be used to strengthening my Personal Learning Network.

The only other biggest form of social media I can think of is Instagram, but exploring myself on that is fairly difficult as I do not actually have an Instagram account. This might be somewhat surprising, especially in 2019 where the vast majority of young people seem to have one, but the concept of Instagram does not particularly interest me (which is kind of funny, because I do like my fair share of Snapchat which is a fairly similar “sharing pictures” concept).

All in all, my digital footprint has not really grown since I started building my PLN last year. Obviously there are a few more places where you can find me (like on Twitter or on my blog), but in regards to doing a quick search for me on Google, it has not really changed. However, this year will hopefully show a lot more growth for my PLN so maybe by the end of the year, my name will actually show up on a Google search when you search for Jesse Simpson.