I have always felt torn between the value of being “connected” and the value of being “disconnected”. For the most part, I’ve been unsettled by the sometimes negative lens that the use of technology is viewed through, or that being “plugged in” is something “bad”.
The readings from this week helped me better sort out where I stand on the debate. My main takeaway as I was reading always came back to the idea of “potential”.
In watching Visitors and Residents, I connected (haha..) to the idea that being a digital resident means you are a know-er of a specific language. If we think about our own experiences in attempting a new language then we can become a little bit more empathetic towards those who may not be as proficient, those who are in the beginning stages of understanding technology, and those who need to reevaluate how they are using technology.
Secondly, Visitors and Residents, makes an interesting argument that leads me to believe there is little separation between being a “resident” or a “visitor” when it comes to digital competencies. I believe that most people are a combination of both categories. According to White, Visitors usually are not in it to have a social trace whereas Residents are making a choice to be present and live a portion of their lives online.
I appreciate the separation that the author makes between these two supposed categories, however I think it’s important to note the ways in which we engage online, whether socially or more professionally, formally or informally, may not be compatible with each other however they all connect through a developing digital identity. I liked how David White was able to illustrate this concept so well in his video.
The reading I most enjoyed this week was The IRL Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson. This essay discussed the concept of a “real connection” vs a “virtual connection”. I struggled to formulate an idea of what a connection could really be defined as then, or if one concept of connection is superior to another. It seems to be highly debated that being offline, or having the willpower to “not be on your phone” offers a source of pride.. but this article reevaluates that idea. And it’s refreshing. It has made me consider if I have ever been offline, unplugged, or gone a few minutes without wondering what is happening online while I’m not. Is this a bad thing? Or is this just a part of world that I have been exposed to nearly all of my life? Is it okay that my version of normal is different from someone who hasn’t been exposed to medias in this sense?
Therein lies the potential that I wrote about at the beginning of this post. There is a potential to be exposed to new ways of experiencing and sharing our lives – whether that be delving into more media-friendly ways, or finding possibilities that don’t require you to be plugged in.
I think the big take away from The IRL Fetish article is that there needs to be a balance.