DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 10 Reflection: What’s in Store for the Future

I can’t believe the semester is over already. The last ten weeks absolutely flew by, and I’m not sure how I can condense everything I’ve learned and all my thoughts on so many complex topics into a blog post, but I’m going to try.

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This week’s lecture was centered around the future of communications and how everything we’ve been studying is going to continue to progress over time. I sat down this weekend and gave each topic we studied a lot of thought and considered what the future for each might be in turn. Across the board, there were some obvious similarities – more of what we have now. More wearables, more customization, more interaction, more of the same but easier, faster, and more convenient – everything we’ve come to expect out of our technology.

At the same time, I look at the current state of technology – for example, Apple products – and I wonder how much more can be done. The iPad has proven to be the most overhyped electronic device in recent years. It is mostly just a larger iPhone. The Apple Watch has had its criticisms too, and the Amazon Echo, Google’s Cortana, and, of course, Siri, are not each without their faults. So, when it comes to the future of communication, what would make consumers happy?

Looking at the criticisms of “smart personal assistants,” people seem to want a completely artificially-intelligent robot PA, a la Her, but when things that fit this bill are created, they are received by mixed reviews. We mentioned this creation during the live session (her name is Sophia) and, while some people thought this idea held promise and was potentially very cool) most of us were horrified as soon as we heard that she has cameras in her eyes that will recognize a person’s face. Maybe it’s movies that have made us so fearful of artificial intelligence, but, personally, I just don’t feel ready for something like Sophia to become mainstream.

So where is the field of communications headed? This is a broad question, and when it comes to looking towards the future of things like mobile devices, interactivity, virtual reality and customization, how can anyone really predict where an ever-changing field like communications might be in a month or two, much less ten years? New technological developments happen every day. Popularity of certain mediums wanes and waxes. Facebook is the new MySpace, and in another year or two, Twitter will probably have completely eclipsed Facebook. Given that social networks are just a small fraction of communication as a whole, and this example is one tiny afterthought to a very complex discussion, how can I begin to tackle the future of an entire industry in one measly blog post?

I look forward to seeing how things will evolve in the field. There’s not much I can say about the future of communication technology that we didn’t cover during the live session. My classmates are an intelligent bunch, and we were largely in agreement about my earlier point that we will see more convenience, faster, and with the added (and cooler) bonus of things like holograms and virtual reality. So rather than harp on about points we’ve already discussed at length, I’ll use this time to reflect on the class in general and how I felt about my first semester as a Communications@Syracuse student.

In the course evaluation for this class, I wrote that this course was a good Intro course without feeling too Intro-y. This course provided a great background to the program and what we were going to learn, while still teaching me something new every week. I was a Communications major in undergrad, but I know that not everyone else was. This course catered to those who needed the extra help without making students like me bored with the content and feeling like we were slowly going over the basics every week.

Maybe our section was just blessed with a great group of students, but the live sessions were my favorite part of this course. In my undergraduate classes, I never felt like I received a diverse range of perspectives, because so many of the students in my classes were people similar to me. My undergrad classmates were from the same part of the country, had the same upbringing, and all looked the same. No two people have the exact same life experience, but for the most part, we were similar. So far, I feel as though I have been exposed to lots of different professions, people, and parts of the country, which has made for a robust discussion throughout the semester.

Wrapping up this course is bittersweet. I’ll miss our Monday night talks as much as I’ll miss watching The Bachelor right after them, but the takeaway I’ve gotten from this course – mainly, the fresh perspective I now have on the industry and my deeper understanding of the topics we’ve studied – balances out the sadness of the course’s end.

Thanks for everything, Intro to Dig. Comm. I can’t wait to meet you all next week!

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 9 Reflection: The Business of Persuasion

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Finally! The class I’ve been waiting for all semester: public relations and advertising.

I’ve known that I wanted to work in public relations since I was a freshman in high school, and in the field of communications even longer than that. I remembered thinking how glamorous the field seemed – on TV (most notably the show that got me hooked, The Spin Crowd) it seemed that public relations mostly involved hanging out with celebrities and attending red carpet events.

Fast forward eight or so years, and now I’m here: a professional intern whose day mostly consists of pitching reporters, compiling media lists, and attending a grand total of zero fantastic parties.

That’s not to say that the industry isn’t everything I thought it’d be – it is, and more. I absolutely love working in the field and can’t imagine myself with any other career. Who doesn’t want to think creatively, work with cool brands, and tell stories all day long? I get paid to do something I already do all day – lurk social media news feeds and talk about trending topics. At my job, I’m in charge of monitoring for celebrity feuds in case the opportunity for newsjacking presents itself. For someone who loves pop culture and eagerly devours trashy tabloids, this is a dream come true.

But I digress. This isn’t an autobiographical post about how I got my job and how much I love it. This is meant to be about this week’s class, during which we mostly talked about advertising and I hogged the quick Intro to PR we snuck in at the end.

Still, public relations is a pretty big part of a brand’s day-to-day concerns nowadays, maybe even more than advertising is. Both are insanely important when it comes to garnering brand recognition, loyalty, and consumer sales – if in different ways. The fact of the matter is that both fields are constantly evolving, adapting to new technologies and practices in ways that other industries, such as print media, are having a harder time doing.

Which brings me to our discussion in class, which was mostly based around how digital technology and new media has changed advertising. We discussed targeted ads (based on my opinion on data mining, I’m sure you can guess how I feel about those) and whether digital media has made advertising more effective. I felt there wasn’t much more to be said on the topic than what was covered in the synchronous content – of course digital media has made advertising more effective. For proof, look no further than this week’s TopShop example.

TopShop’s translation of the hottest London Fashion Week items into strategically placed live Twitter billboards was a stroke of marketing genius. For those of you who forget, TopShop pulled pieces from its own clothing line that mimicked trends that were straight off the runway from London Fashion Week. These outfits were projected on digital billboards, all within ten miles of a TopShop retail store. Consumers were encouraged to engage with a brand hashtag, and those who did were sent a personalized list of clothing items to shop from. You think targeted advertising is creepy? I see your opinion, and raise you TopShop’s Top Trends initiative.

Who doesn’t want something like online shopping, where thousands of outfits and hundreds of sizes, styles, and colors can finally be sorted from a confusing mess into a personalized experience, hand tailored to their own interests? Are you really so concerned about your privacy that you would forgo something this convenient?

I sound incredibly “millennial” right now, don’t I?

Regardless, I am in favor of targeted ads. I am even in favor of native ads. As I mentioned during the live session, I find native ads less intrusive than full page pop-ups or pop-unders, and, after years and years spent online, I am able to spot them and ignore them seamlessly. Do I consider them dishonest? Not really. As long as they are labeled, I don’t feel that it is the company’s problem if a consumer misses the label at-a-glance or is confused by it. Native advertising is smart, and effective. Like targeted advertising, it just makes sense, especially with the way digital media is changing virtually every industry out there.

Advertising and public relations have adapted to these changes in ways that I feel are not too out-there or extreme. Other industries have yet to catch up, and, sure, there are places within advertising and PR that aren’t perfected yet, but I think most would agree that these two industries have found a way to keep up with younger, more digital generations in ways that are, for the most part, effective and quietly, impressively seamless.

I like working in public relations. I like using digital media on a daily basis and I really do feel that it has kept me more current than some of my other peers who never studied communications. Both industries have their merits and are insanely important, not just to an ever-changing digital landscape, but to brands, companies, other fields of study, and consumers.

It’s our job to tell the stories. We have to make them make sense, and we have to make them relatable. Understanding the way digital communication is changing is an important part of that.

I know I say this every week, but I really enjoyed this week’s class discussion. Maybe it was because I got to talk more about something I’m knowledgeable in, but I found this week’s live session engaging and interesting – and thought-provocative. Gaining another perspective on a field I consider myself an expert in was, for lack of a better word, cool. It’s always nice to see something you think you know completely through a different set of eyes.

Moving forward, I look forward to hearing people’s semester wrap-ups now that Intro to Digital Communications is (unbelievably) almost over. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more on this topic as people present their case studies, and I can’t wait to see some real-life examples to supplement our abstract discussion on how digital media has changed two hugely important industries.

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 7 Reflection: Data, Data, and more Data

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This week’s class discussion on big data was particularly awesome. I’ve enjoyed splitting into groups during class, as exploring my classmates’ perspectives in smaller groups has been interesting. With the amount of time we’ve gotten to talk, I’ve really gotten to learn others’ thoughts on the issues and why they feel that way – what experiences they’ve had to lead them to feel that way. My feelings on big data (data mining in general) are pretty clear cut (I don’t really care how much data is collected on me or what it’s used for) so it’s been cool to see how others think and why they think it.

Maybe I’m so unconcerned about data mining because I’m unmarried, not a homeowner, have no children, and my credit is in pretty good shape. Maybe I’m so open about my online life because my online life is boring. Maybe I would be more concerned about my privacy if I had something to hide – so I don’t. I call my bank to tell them when I’m going on vacation because I don’t want my debit card frozen when I get to a new area. I post my location on Instagram because people don’t really stalk other people on social media, do they? I make friends online and I’m forthcoming with things like my Facebook, my SnapChat username, and even my email address because, honestly, what’s going to happen?

During the live session, I stated that I don’t care what data is collected if it makes my life easier. I feel fairly strongly about this. For example – I frequently sell old clothes on eBay. To do this, you have to set up a PayPal account. To receive your money from PayPal, you have to either request a check by mail (which takes a long time, and might not even be an option soon enough) or input your banking information, including your checking account and routing number, and a form of identity verification, such as your social security number. I didn’t think twice about providing PayPal with this information. Now my money is directly deposited into my checking account. My employer also has this information – my paychecks are directly deposited. Syracuse even has this information – I pay my tuition online.

Am I worried about getting hacked? Not really. Should I be? Probably. If there’s one thing we’ve seen in the news lately, it’s that hacking is very real and apparently very easy (probably even easier now that I’ve told the Internet what information I have out there). And yet, in all this time that I’ve been building my online presence, my debit card was only replaced once. That’s pretty good, considering I’ve had a debit card since I wa about fourteen.

So how safe is the internet, really? What information is being collected from us, and for what purpose? This was something we explored during the live session. But it was hard for us to come up with answers. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of more than a handful of things institutions like the banks might want from me, and coming up with reasons why they might want that information was even harder. Do they just want to know? Is it a matter of being nosy, or determining demographics and statistical information? I’m still not sure I understand it entirely, even after the live discussion this week.

Moving forward, I think it’s time I look more into this issue. I distinctly remember, during our private group, that Tracey remarked how us surprised she was that us fresh-out-of-college kids don’t seem to care what data of ours is out there. She seemed particularly surprised. Maybe my cavalier attitude is worrying. Maybe I should be more aware of what’s going on, and more concerned about where my data is and who’s accessing it. But the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know enough about the process to be concerned. Maybe the uncertainty should worry me! There are a lot of maybes. The only thing I know for sure, is that I should do some research and educate myself more on this topic.

What we covered in the live session this week and in the asynchronous material was great – it definitely provided me with a background on the issue and some preliminary information on the topic. But if I really want to understand who’s accessing my data and what they’re doing with it, I need to learn more. Big data isn’t something that just applies to companies and people with mortgages and children – this issue is very relevant to me, and this week made me realize that I need to care more about it.

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 5 Reflection: Free Culture, Free Speech, and Monetizing the Internet

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This week, we explored a variety of topics pertaining to internet use. Much of what we discussed expanded upon our previous discussion on “Who owns the internet?” with the added delving into of what each person can and can’t say on the internet. During the live session, my classmates and I presented on several different aspects of online ethics. I really enjoyed this part of the discussion, because as we have started to see over the past few weeks, when it comes to the internet and online culture, the laws are lagging and there is often a whole new set of rules.

After answering a prompt about our opinions on free culture, I did some more research on the topic, independently of anything we were assigned for class. I had been under the impression that “free” culture meant not charging for the viewing and distributing of art and other like-minded materials, such as movies and music. In actuality, “free culture” adopted the term “free” to liken itself to free speech. The idea of a “free” culture is more about the free-flowing exchange of unrestricted information than pirated music, which I was surprised to learn.

However, in America, there’s already things like open-source software and hacker culture – things that are fairly free to begin with. Yet there are still those who argue against this freedom. Sure, these critics are mostly large, important copyright lawyers and those who profit off of restricted access, but there are also smaller artists and upcoming producers who support the idea of a free culture, yet need the profits that come with restricted access to make a living producing their art.

So is there any validity to the idea that copyright law is ruining art? Particularly, in music, I can think of a few examples that might support this. Copyright has made remix culture and certain forms of expression particularly difficult. Additionally, it has really hurt the ‘average’ fan in a lot of ways. What about the poor couple who lost their wedding vows, speeches, and entire wedding audio all because their first dance was set to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’? Just because an artist is greedy and their lawyers want to capitalize on fan popularity (see: how the original owner of the ‘Harlem Shake’ song made millions with YouTube and Content ID) doesn’t mean that fans should be discouraged from showing their appreciation with remixed art forms. Isn’t setting your wedding dance to a Taylor Swift song part of being a fan? Isn’t participating in remix culture part of what being a fan is all about?

This week’s material was troubling for me because, while I can see both sides of the issue, I am largely in favor of a free culture – with dual use of the word “free.” I believe that art should be less restricted, and I believe that art should be free of charge. For example, I have little respect for musicians who choose to keep their music off streaming services – don’t people who can’t afford the extra luxury of buying an album deserve to listen to music, too?

Yes, artists deserved to get paid for the content they produce, and, yes, there should be laws in place so that artists cannot be copied and thus lose profits to someone else’s copy, but there has to be a better way. In interviews, actors and musicians are quick to say that they produce art for their fans and because it is fulfilling – not for the money. Of course, many artists who make these statements are those that can probably afford to lose a few dollars due to a pirated CD – especially when album sales don’t really matter anymore.

But what about their fans who have student loans, car payments, and rent, and thus simply can’t spare a few extra dollars to see a movie in theaters or buy an entire album – or even a song or two on iTunes? To ignore the very real income inequality among supporters of music and movies is, I think, insensitive. At the same time, to ignore struggling artists who produce independent films and need ticket sales to be validated is also insensitive. I’ve thought a lot about this issue, and examined the many complicated aspects of it from both sides, and I’m still no closer to a solution or an answer than I was before Week 5’s Live Session.

Going forward, I welcome the input of my other classmates. I can’t be the only one who has struggled with this idea of a “free culture” and how it intersects with more complex issues, like systemic poverty and income inequality, so it would be valuable to see some other opinions on the issues. Furthermore, I feel as though I’ve debated a few relatively complex ideas in this blog post, and yet I didn’t even venture outside of American policy. Other countries have far more restrictive rules, so how could the idea of a “free culture” ever possibly work on a global scale?

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 4 Reflection: Digital Overloads and the Digital Divide

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This week’s class was, fittingly, split into two very obvious portions. For the first half of the session, we talked about our digital consumption diaries. Across the board, my classmates admitted to spending a majority of their day connected to digital technology. Many of us work in front of computers all day, and most of us found that when we weren’t in front of a computer, we were on our smartphones or watching television.

Personally, I crunched the numbers, and digital technology use made up for an alarming 15.41 hours of my day – that’s 64.20%. I am dependent on my technology for virtually every moment that I am awake. In fact, on a typical work day, from the moment I wake up until I break for lunch, there is not a single moment that I am not connected to digital technology in some way. My dependence on my smart devices can sometimes make me forget that there are people in the world who aren’t connected, which was why I was so surprised to find that 15% of Americans are actually not online at all.

Of course, that number is substantially higher when expanded outside of America. As we discussed in class, about 5 billion people worldwide still do not have internet access. As someone who relies on the internet and her digital devices pretty much around the clock, I was completely surprised to learn this. Many non-internet users cite reasons such as irrelevance or difficulty when asked why they are not online, but there are also larger reasons why many people globally cannot connect. Things like income level, access to education, physical disabilities, and language barriers can all get in the way of someone who wants to get online. These various global and social factors all contribute to the widening digital divide we have begun to see – also known as the huge gap between those who have internet access and those who don’t.

During this week’s class, we split into groups to try and brainstorm solutions to narrow the digital divide, via a mock conference topic agenda. The topic that I found most interesting was providing access to physically disabled users, as only 38% of disabled Americans report using the internet. In class, my group brainstormed ways to make the internet more disabled-friendly. Since there seem to be tools to help people with limited mobility eat, get dressed, and otherwise function autonomously, why is there such a discrepancy when it comes to tools that might make computers and digital technology easier for them to handle?

There is a very serious lack of disabled-friendly technology. Given how helpful digital technology has proven to be, and, how all the benefits we’ve discussed in class might positively impact so many non-internet users, creating this technology seems – at least to me – a priority. Additionally, I was shocked to learn that many Americans who are not online are offline by choice.

34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it. This seems particularly crazy to me, as I can name dozens of benefits of being connected, and, during the live sessions, my classmates repeatedly point out even more benefits I may have overlooked. The fact of the matter is that the world couldn’t function without digital technology – America especially. Everything, from hospitals to libraries, now functions online. Smartphones are capable of more now than ever before, and digital technology is well on its way to ruling even the longest holdouts – like parking meters and small businesses.

So when we talk about the digital divide, it’s important to discuss more than the glaringly obvious. Yes, there are parts of the world where the internet is not affordable, and yes, there are people whose education levels or income hinder them from getting online. But there are also the aspects that most people (or at least me) forget to consider: things like disability and a lack of interest. Solving these problems are a little harder. There’s not much that can be done aside from creating a dialogue and getting people talking about these issues. The internet and digital technology have allowed for all of us to become connected, so why not use these tools to help further the connection? Let’s start an open dialogue on the benefits of the internet, both so we can educate those who don’t see the appeal, and quiet some people who feel the internet is more of a hinderance than a blessing.

I guess what I really liked about this week was the sharp contrast I observed between our discussion of our consumption diaries and the digital divide. For someone like me, who is always connected, it was jarring to switch gears and focus on so many who aren’t connected. If nothing else, it’s always important to check your privilege and remember that there are some people who don’t have access to the same things you do for any number of reasons. Additionally, brainstorming potential solutions was fun, and a cool way to think of how we might one day get involved in a real, global communications issue.

In the coming weeks, I look forward to exploring this topic more in-depth. Outside of the digital divide, I am curious to learn other global implications and changes that have come about as a result of our growing obsession with digital technology and the internet.

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 3 Reflection: Social Media & Web 2.0, Explored

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I love to start blog posts with a quirky cartoon, but given that the topic this week was social media, I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t overwhelmingly negative. We already know how I feel about the internet, technology, and those against it, so I won’t get into it now, but I do think it’s a little silly that so much of the ‘mature’ opinion seems to reflect the idea that social media is dumbing us all down.

I see social media mostly as a generational fad, like bell bottoms or disco or other fads that generations before me were obsessed with — like ruining the economy. Older members of Gen X want to use any excuse to shame ‘millennials’ for updating their social media accounts, but I am a firm believer that everyone should embrace social media, as it has proven to be a huge force behind shaping the current landscape of digital communication.

Whether we like it or not, social media is integrated in virtually every aspect of our lives. Even the simple aspect of dining out at a restaurant has become a social event with sites like Yelp or FourSquare. Social media is the new e-mail, in the sense that it has become so widespread that we look at people who aren’t on Twitter or Facebook the same way we might look at someone who doesn’t have an email address — as though they are completely insane.

Social media and Web 2.0 are such unique concepts because they focus primarily on user-generated content. While this is an undoubtedly ‘cool’ concept, it also creates a level of accountability among users that not everyone handles correctly. During class, we briefly touched upon how once a series of words reach the internet, they never really leave. Everyone has heard at least one story of someone who said something on social media they probably shouldn’t have and faced consequences at work, or school, or in their ‘real life’ because of it.

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At the same time, this focus on user-generated content is mostly responsible for the multifunctional purpose social media now serves within our lives. Look at, for example, Amazon Reviews. Product reviews on Amazon are not technically a ‘social network,’ but, rather, they are user-generated responses that in turn generate surrounding attention. They serve a dual purpose: first, serious Amazon reviews are enjoyed by other Amazon users who value the opinions of their peers and take them into account when purchasing a new product, and second, the practice of writing joke Amazon product reviews has now become a widely popularized internet forum for humor, almost on the same level as Reddit.

This idea of how one platform can have all of these nuances was what I found most intriguing about this week’s presentations. Learning about platforms I’d never heard of before was interesting because when you study a new platform, you don’t only learn about how one user can interact with the platform. You also learn the way every user interacts with one another — the social part of social networking. In some instances, I find the community aspect each social networking platform holds to be the most interesting part about the whole platform. Take, for example, the Couchsurfing platform presented. Users receive no incentive for participating, yet they couch-surf and build their profiles and interact with one another and the platform continues to thrive despite the existence of safer competitive sites.

If nothing else, it’s always good to learn the ins and outs of a new social media platform. Whether we like it or not, social media is everywhere now, and it’s not going away. So I found the material from this week incredibly useful and engaging, and believe that what we discussed in class will have legitimate real-world application moving forward. As the semester progresses, I would love to take a more in-depth look at social networking sites and the many sub-communities that exist online. This week’s snapshots barely scratched the surface of the many, many groups that reside within the vast corners of the internet.

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DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 2 Reflection: Alone Together, or Together Alone?

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When I was an undergrad, I took a class called Digital Media and Cyberculture, where we studied the ins and outs of internet communities. One of our units was titled Alone Together, or Together Alone? and focused on the two main sides of what has today become a debatable issue: does technology connect us, or force us farther apart?

This week in class we read an (admittedly outdated) article that seemed to argue in favor of the latter. Throughout the post, the author makes fairly negative and pessimistic guesses about the future of the internet. At the end, he states that the internet has created a lack of human contact that is bound to continue. This article was written over ten years ago, and I’m sure that the author, upon observing people today, has given himself a nice pat on the back for being ‘right.’

But is he right?

I was surprised how many people in class found points within the article they could agree with. The other two members of my group were willing to keep an open mind and concede to some of my points that posed an argument to the author’s claims, but for the most part, they cited examples from their everyday lives that proved his point. Alison, who works in a hospital, explained how many of the nurses are too busy typing charts on their iPads to engage with patients. Each of us could recall a time we saw a group of people at a social event staring down at their phone instead of being social.

At 21 years old, I’m probably one of the younger people in class, which might explain my aggressive disagreement to the opinion of the author. But I’ve always been of the opinion that the internet connects us more than it separates us. I grew up with the internet always there; much of my social life happened online. As soon as I would come home from middle school, I would be in an AIM chat room with my friends from school until I went to bed that night. As I grew up, I came to have Online Friends – friends I would never have met if it hadn’t been for the internet.

So when I see a group of people eating together at a restaurant, all texting instead of talking or individually Instagramming their food, I don’t blame technology. I will always think of the internet and technology for all the good it has done, rather than thinking of it as an out for people who want to avoid face-to-face communication. Because I do think that it is possible to have both; a person who loves technology and sings its praises like I do can also be outgoing and talkative in person. It is possible to be a talented communicator over more than one medium.

The asynchronous material from this week mentioned that the creation of the internet allowed for interactivity where it had never existed before. The internet opened up a feedback channel. This has become such an important, multifunctional tool. For example, I don’t know anyone who makes a big purchase without asking for someone else’s opinion first. Online product reviews allow us to consult a large, diverse group of people, rather than just blindly asking for opinions from people who may not even know the product. In this instance, everyone participating in writing and reading the product reviews becomes part of an online community. It may seem like a mundane point, but this is such an everyday way that the internet brings us together.

Interactivity and feedback are not the only doors the internet has opened. Information is accessible now where it may have never been before. Before the internet, encyclopedias were an expensive way to educate on general knowledge, now, Wikipedia is free to use. People who may have otherwise never met are able to chat every day. People around the world in different timezones can see and speak to each other when it’s midnight in one location and nine am in another. You can have just about anything in the world sent to you with free two day shipping if you want. People who feel alone in their everyday lives can come online, to a community of people who feel the same way, and have the same interests as them.

During our group discussion on what we think the internet is, I stated that I felt the internet has two main functions: social and educative. The great thing about the internet is that it has allowed for these functions to happen separately and together. Look at Communications@Syracuse, and this class, in particular. Though we’re primarily focused on education, there’s a social aspect to everything we do, including writing these blogs and tweeting them so our classmates can browse through the hashtag and read them.

Overall, I will always speak favorably about the internet and the connectivity it brings. I am very supportive of the idea of an online community or a “global village.” I truly believe that the future is headed towards an online-in person social hybrid environment. Those who fight it and argue that we are losing ourselves will simply have to learn to adapt and get with the times.

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