Posts Tagged ‘social media’

What a hoot! Enjoy this hilarious melodrama about social media addiction:

Related Post: Social Media in a Walled Garden


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Social Media BrandsIn my recent blog about dangers of social media I made reference to my IT work over the last twenty years. It wasn’t until after the blog was published that the significance of the time span hit me like a 2 x 4. Twenty years! How many of us remember that the first website was created only 20 years ago in December.

How did I pick that topic at this time? Was my subconscious directing me write on the subject because of the anniversary? Serendipity? Some unter-geek, genetic, internal clock awakening my limbic brain? I don’t know.

How interesting then to see a far more prescient, but related article by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, just published by Scientific American Magazine on the web: Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality

Berners-Lee assails the corporatization of the web, governmental threats to freedom of speech, and the `walled garden’ approach to social media sites.

The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.

He remains hopeful that OUR internet can be saved from itself and draws a line in the sand.

As long as the web’s basic principles are upheld, its ongoing evolution is not in the hands of any one person or organization—neither mine nor anyone else’s. If we can preserve the principles, the Web promises some fantastic future capabilities.   …

The goal of the Web is to serve humanity. We build it now so that those who come to it later will be able to create things that we cannot ourselves imagine.

Bob Pauls writes for his company, Des Moines Tech Support, about appropriate technology and computers in business, education, and community development. You can follow Bob on Twitter @desmoinestech.  Bob’s e-mail address is bpauls@dsmtechsupport.com

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I count myself among the early champions of the internet who believed that the highest potential for Internet technology would be for sharing information, advancing personal prosperity, creating liberty for all. That’s one of the reasons why I started a BBS in 1990 and later an ISP. Our aspirations for the internet were probably similar to those that championed creation of public libraries and public schools.

We proponents of appropriate technology have always known that there could be a dark side to the Internet. The Web could:

  • Become a tool for censorship and propaganda.
  • Lead to addictive behavior, productivity decline, and ill-health.

There is increasing evidence of these negatives. Google, Facebook and others have been lax in protecting user privacy. Nation states (E.G. China) are openly censoring content, and academics worldwide are expressing increasing concern for the effects of “excessive Internet use”, in particular social media. They say that social media use is having negative consequences for the health of children.

A report out of Great Britain this week, Social networking: teachers blame Facebook and Twitter for pupils’ poor grades, heaps blame for poor student achievement on excessive use of social media. The report was issued by a private outdoor recreation business, so the conclusions are somewhat suspect. But, even more damning and illuminating is a fresh New York Times video, Fast Times at Woodside High. It documents the battle taking place for the attention and concentration of young minds.

Part of the ongoing education debate in the US focuses on the failure of the ‘industrial training” methodology still in use in our schools and the increasing dependence of young minds on instant gratification. Social media has the potential to be too distracting from other important activity. Simply stated, it’s hard to find time for learning core academic subjects when a student is otherwise engaged sending up to 900 text messages a day or playing video games 30-50 hours a week. Yes, social media helps develop other types of skills, but at what cost? When is there time to do homework, eat, sleep, and spend some recreation time outdoors?

Until recently, I’ve not been an alarmist about the future of technology and student achievement. Tech can truly enhance learning. I’ve worked as a high school technology coordinator; have been a strong proponent for erasing the digital divide, and promoted social media as a tool for learning and building communities of interest. But now I’m starting to have more serious doubts about social media, all the while increasingly using it myself. Maybe I’m becoming the curmudgeon I never wanted to be.

Non Sequitur courtesy of Universal Uclick. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I’m worried. Heavy technology use is affecting our brains. No, I’m not talking about the risk of ionizing radiation from cell phones. (The National Institute of Health is still engaged in studies on that subject until 2014.) I do fear that obsessive social media use is affecting our safety and the nation’s capacity to meet the challenges of the future. How many car drivers have you seen distracted talking or texting on their phones. I see about one a day.

The Fast Times…video does a good job of portraying the behavioral and cultural risks of too much tech. The subject really warrants our attention … after I check my e-mail, send my Twitter tweet about this post and update my website, blog, and Facebook page, and answer .. (excuse me, I’ll be back to finish this post after I text my friend back).

Related Websites: The Side Effects of Media


Bob Pauls writes for his company, Des Moines Tech Support, about appropriate technology and computers in business, education, and community development. You can follow Bob on Twitter @desmoinestech.  Bob’s e-mail address is bpauls@dsmtechsupport.com

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