Midterm Blog Post – How is technology impacting life as we know it?

It is fascinating to see how technology is impacting our lives. Almost everyone on the planet is somehow connected to technology in some form or another. Be it college students using twitter and facebook to connect, doctors and surgeons using video games as training tools, people using twitter as a weapon for revolution and a way to rebuild, or a president building an online following. It amazes me how there seems to be an ever evolving need to explore the ways we can use these technologies. We are constantly finding new ways to implement technology into our lives.

I feel like it is important for us to continue moving forward in the idea of connectivity. I also believe that we need to continue adapting technologies to everyday situations. Facebook seems to be a rather hot topic these days. The question is, how is facebook influencing our social lives? Turns out, it can actually help them out. I used to believe that facebook was a waste of time. I felt like I’d rather hang out with my friends than sit behind a screen and “creep” on what they were doing. I still believe this, to an extent. But facebook has a lot of positive influences on how we interact with one another. According to this article on social networking, you are just as likely to experience a healthy social life through facebook as you are offline. In fact, people are sometimes more willing to share their personal lives with others on social media sites.

Not only can technology provide us with a platform to connect with one another, but it can also track how we feel while we are “socializing”. A group of people actually teamed up and analyzed over 300 million tweets to track the mood of the nation throughout the day. This may seem like a useless project, but it goes to show how these social media technologies are able to be used to determine patterns in our lives. I for one am excited to see what other types of studies are done with this idea in mind. It seems like a great way to analyze trends throughout the world.

It is even more interesting to see this whole new breed of video games that are spawning from social media platforms. It just goes to show you that if the platform is there, people will adapt to it. In this case, they are turning traditional video games on their heads. The entire concept of social media gaming is to be able to “play at your own pace”. They are also built around much more rewarding concepts. It is no longer a matter of skill with these games. They are purely there for entertainment and enjoyment.

However, social media platforms aren’t the only place where video games are emerging. They are also coming into play in the medical field. Surgeons are playing games to improve hand-eye coordination, patients are playing games to expedite recovery times, people with illnesses are using video games to better treat their diseases, and the list goes on. The fact is that we need to be open to allowing technology to be implemented into whatever the field. No longer are video games a waste of time. They are becoming an important training tool and they are helping to revitalize old industries by giving us a new way of looking at them.

These social platforms aren’t only being used for entertainment. They are emerging in different ways all over the world. The revolution in Egypt is a great example of how these tools can be used to organize protests and take a stand. Twitter and facebook played crucial roles in those demonstrations. They proved to be so useful, that after the dust settled, people began using them to start new businesses. The startup culture that emerged was rather extraordinary. Venture capitalists began taking interest in some of the entrepreneurial projects that were forming. The people were able to use these technologies to develop their own technologies. That idea fascinates me.

 

 [View the story “Start it Up!” on Storify]

 

Twitter and other social media platforms can also help with marketing a small business. In most cases these businesses don’t have the means of marketing to a large audience. They rely on word of mouth and very low advertising budgets. But with twitter, they are able to reach a much larger audience. And the best part is, once word gets out, it spreads like wildfire. These platforms are able to take a small business from practically nothing to a national brand. It is up to the business owner to realize the potential of these technologies and use them to their full potential. Facebook and twitter can also be used to spark interest in a product. A lot of businesses will make a facebook page, but it is requires more than just “making a page” in order to get a following. You have to be able to understand what users are interested in. You have to give them something that will draw them in. Something more than just a profile page for your company. Some use videos or surveys, among other things, to achieve this.

These social media platforms aren’t just for kids anymore. They are a part of our lives. This past election was proof of that. Obama launched one of the most important campaign platforms in history. He was the first president to use social media as a way to reach out to people. He was primarily targeting a younger audience, but it proved to be worth his time. He pretty much hit every platform he could. He had a website, a blog, a youtube channel, a linkedin account, a twitter stream, and a facebook account. I believe there were a few others as well. This was the first time that a presidential candidate hit the social networking world with such force. He built a community around his campaign and it ultimately helped him win the election. The question is, what will the next election look like? Will it become a norm for all presidential candidates to go through these steps.  It is certainly looking like the Republicans are considering the approach. You can’t really blame them, but they will have to do it in their own way. I can see a lot of copy cat attempts being made, or other futile attempts to push their messages into our faces. Obama was successful because he created the sense of community, he didn’t just sign up for everything and hope for the best.  I hope this does not happen. In my opinion, there is already enough political advertising and spamming going on in the media. The last thing I want are dueling slander videos to pop up on every other site I try to visit. But I can honestly see that happening if they aren’t careful.

The above examples provide just a slim view of how technology has impacted our lives. I believe that it is critical that we continue to explore the ways that we can integrate technology further into our existing infrastructure. I also believe that by doing this, new platforms and technologies will emerge. No matter if it’s just for fun, for training, for demanding social reform, or for trying to get elected, we will always have a need to embrace technology and implement it into our daily lives.

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~ by soyouthinkyouknow on October 12, 2011.

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