I related very closely to dana boyd’s depiction of social media. In chapter three she talks about how kids rely on social media due to their limited freedoms: “For them, Facebook was the only way to stay connected”(boyd 85). Boyd does a very good job at grasping how younger people use social media. She accurately describes how children in this generation no longer have the time or opportunity to hang out with their friends in person as often. Instead, friendships need to be maintained over Facebook and other social media platforms. Social media allows for a sense of no limitations.
When I was in middle school but mostly high school, I became too busy to hang out with my friends every week. The only time I would see people was in school. I had to rely on texting and Facebook in order to communicate and keep up with what people were doing. My mom would tell me to go and hang out with my friends, but in this day and age, that is unrealistic. With the limited amount of time this generation has, it is almost impossible to make time to travel to your friend to hang out with them. My parents talk about how when they were young they would come home from school and walk to their friend’s house. Maybe my experience is so different because of where I live, but I could never just walk to a friend’s house. I would need my parents to drive me which with increasingly busy schedules became more and more difficult.
Dana boyd does a very good job at highlighting the disconnect between kids and their parents. In the beginning of the book and especially the third chapter, boyd goes back and forth between the opinions of kids and the opinions of parents. The younger and older generations have an extremely large disconnect. Parents have a perception that children are out of control on the internet and social media. On the other hand, parents know much less about social media so how can they say that we’re out of control? The younger generation needs to use social media in order to stay connected with the world around them. A song that I really like called My World by Kid Cudi has references to how kids need their social media accounts in order to stay connected to other people even when you aren’t with them in person.
As a 20 year old student, I am stating the obvious when I say that I am a digital native. Although kids my age grew up reading books like Harry Potter and Twilight, we also grew up with Wikipedia and SparkNotes. Technology and the internet were present as I was growing up but now as a young adult our world is predominantly digital. As technology developed, my mind developed along with it. The plasticity of my mind is simply a product of my generation.
In chapter three of The Shallows, Carr talks about the newness of written and literary work. He describes how the transition from an oral world to a written world was especially intellectually demanding because of the amount of attention long-term reading required. Amongst this Carr makes the point: “Our predisposition is to shift our gaze, and hence our attention, from one object to another, to be aware of as much of what’s going on around us as possible.” (63). I believe that this point is not only the epitome of my life but the lives of all digital natives.
When I buckled down to read The Shallows, Carr’s account of his difficulty concentrating while reading could not have been any more relatable as I found myself itching to grab my phone. I came to the realization that while I was reading this book, I was merely receiving information from Carr and my mind is accustomed to acquiring a myriad of information at once from different channels all within my phone. I can receive all different kinds of information whether it is an email from the school president or a CNN video someone shared on Facebook. My mind is always wanting more information because that’s what it’s used to. I speak for my generation when I say that we want to know and form opinions about everything.
At a time where information is so accessible, all I want to do is access it. We are either pulling information or information is being pushed toward us or this is occurring simultaneously. A device as small as our phones gives us the power to know what’s going on around us not just where we live or go to school but all over the world. Even at the beginning of a literary world, way before social media was created, our minds were craving more.
In this video, part of a Social Media Revolution series by Erik Qualmann, we learn about the advancement and the power of the Internet that Carr raves about. Our need for knowledge has created many platforms that are useful and even essential to our everyday lives. For example, through an outlet like LinkedIn, I can connect with not only people I go to school with but anyone I’ve met. I completely agree with the way Carr’s point of describing humanity’s need for awareness because I am a living testimony of it.