I thought #1wknotech was a fun project to work on, both because we could be ironic and clever with our posts, but it also raised questions about our dependence on technology. When I started on Monday, I thought about ways I could be clever, like making a Vine while walking past my TV, Xbox, Wii and laptop, talking about how being without tech for a week was exhilarating. But I thought that that would a little bit of overkill, so I started small, talking about registering for classes. Registration is completely online, so it was ironic, but for people who didn’t know that, it seems like a totally normal tweet. That’s the kind of stuff I was shooting for at first, and got goofier as the week moved on.
I didn’t have trouble putting the phone and other tech away for an hour and being tech-less. I often go hours without checking my phone just because I forget about it. I don’t think I’m addicted to technology; I realize the importance of it and utilize it, but if all the phones and internet shut down tomorrow, I would be okay. But this brings up a theme that was evident throughout the project: some people get their self-worth through their selfies and tweets. I understand that it feels good to get 50+ likes on a picture, but I get the feeling that some people actually need that recognition and validation.
Although I talked about how I would be okay if all the tech shut down tomorrow, that also brings an interesting question: what exactly is tech? Is it digital TVs with 1080p? Is it VCRs? Is there a difference between an iPod and a Walkman? The other interesting point this project brought up was the idea that we are slaves to technology. As a student, I need to have almost constant access to the internet to succeed; moodle and email are the main way professors communicate with their students out of class, and both are online. Furthermore, I haven’t turned in a paper that was hand-written since early high school, everything else has been word processed and printed out. This shows that we are dependent on technology much more than we think about.
I thought the theme that was most apparent during #1wknotech was the discussion, if it can be called that, about what technology really is. Dean Alaska had a number of posts about it. His opinion on technology differs from mine. I would say that any television is technology, but, as Dean posts below, he is still watching TV. However, it’s standard definition, which is what the early cavemen had.
Again, Dean posts that he hasn’t been able to buy anything because he doesn’t have any cash. Therefore, he must not be using his card. I didn’t think about my card as technology; I thought about things with screens and flashing lights as tech. It was fun to see what other people came up with regards to their tech use.
Here, Jeff T. Johnson is literally just listening to his iPod. I think this is funny because he doesn’t have headphones or anything in his ears; he is just listening to it as though it would produce sound. I think this use of technology is okay because he wasn’t actually using it. He was simply holding it up to his ear in some misguided attempt to listen to music.
I thought another cool theme that emerged from #1wknotech is the questions being raised at the end of the week. These were sometimes hinted at, other times they were directly stated, but they all focused on whether or not going back to tech was a good thing. Below are a number of examples.
I like how Sasha M.’s post shows how happy she is that #1wknotech was over, and that she was “free.” Then she wonders if she is actually going back to being trapped under the thumb of technology. I think this is a super interesting idea. She brings up the idea that maybe we were free during #1wknotech and now we are going back to the slavers, which is our tech.
Lita-lota also touches on this idea. She wishes farewell to #1wknotech and then comments that she is now going to lose sleep over technology. Finally, her hashtag, #goingtomiss1wknotech, shows that she is on the same wavelength as Sasha M. I think the idea that #1wknotech was actually a good thing for us is a fun theme to play with, and these tweets show that perfectly.
Rosie also talks about the end of #1wknotech. She says that she is proud to have made it through the week, and that she realized the benefits and downfalls of technology during it. I wish she would have tweeted more about what specifically she learned, but his also is on the same theme that Lita-lota and Sasha M. touch on. I think we could do a #1wknotech hangover-style tweet, where we talk about what we did after #1wknotech and how we reacted to it.
A third theme I found interesting was how participating in #1wknotech was affecting people’s social and work lives. In Chris Gnarley’s post, he talks about how he can’t work on a group project on Google docs. I think this would be the part of my life that would be most affected by going a week without tech. Everything we do related to school is done using email, word processors, and other forms of tech. It make you wonder what would happen if the Internet stopped working all over the world.
This post is on the same track as Chris Gnarley’s. I was sitting in my house procrastinating, and thought about how much work I could be doing. Then I remembered that I could blame not doing work on #1wknotech and not feel bad about it whatsoever. Thus, I took to twitter to blame #1wknotech for not being able to use moodle, word processors, etc. It was beautiful.
In this one, I posted about how I was missing out on “likes” on Facebook. I took a picture of a squirrel eating pizza and mentioned that I would love to post it on Facebook but couldn’t because of #1wknotech. Chris Gnarley tweeted back, saying that “likes” are what he uses to measure his worth, and that this week has really been tough without them. Sketchy McGinn gets in on the action in a self-deprecating way when he says that his selfies never get likes anyways, so this week has been good to him. I thought this was a great exchange, and brought up a few interesting points. Do “likes” really hold that much power over some people? Would they actually be affected if they couldn’t post their selfies and get confirmation of their hotness? Or does Sketchy McGinn have a point, and people who don’t get tons of likes or recognition on Facebook should delete their accounts?
In conclusion, I think that #1wknotech was both fun and thought-provoking. It was fun in the sense that we could be ironic and hypocritical with our posts about technology. It was thought provoking because of the observations made by students, often in a subtle or ironic way. The themes of what tech really is, the pros and cons that people brought up at the end of the week, and the idea that people were missing out on all-important recognition, bring up a number of questions that don’t have concrete answers.
I think the most interesting theme is the idea of recognition and how some people judge their worth on how many “likes” their post on Facebook gets, or how many favorites their Tweet garners. I don’t post very much on twitter or facebook, mostly because I know I don’t have too much of interest to share with the world; if I want people to know something about me, I will tell my close friends and family because they are the people I actually care about, not the kid I used to sit next to in 11th grade Chemistry. But some people take a different approach, posting multiple times a day. I always think of these people as attention-starved, and that they NEED the attention in a sense. Obviously there are people who do this just to stay close with family and friends, and that’s totally okay. However, I think that if Facebook or some other social media site is the number one way one feels worth in themselves, that’s kind of sad, but also brings up another huge set of questions, including just how much can it mean? What would happen if we deleted that person’s account? People in the Dark Ages had self-worth but never had Facebook; this is a problem that is just a baby in the grand scheme of things.
I also enjoyed the theme that appeared at the end of the project about whether #1wknotech was liberating or not. I liked how Sasha M. tweeted about how we became “free” after the week was over, but then quickly asked if we are going back “under the thumb” of technology. I think this is a super interesting question. If we actually went a week without tech, would people find it hard to go back to using phones all day, everyday? I think going out to live in the woods for a week or two, armed with basic survival gear (and during the summer) would be great, and I would be able to get away from everything. I feel like I would be much less stressed if I did that. However, I couldn’t do that during the school year, because I have responsibilities. This brings up questions about the dependence we have on technology these days. If somehow the internet was shut down, UMD would probably close for a number of days as they try to sort things out. They would have to make phone calls (*GASP*) to other people instead of emails. We would turn to the news organizations for information, but they wouldn’t know how to contact people without looking at their respective websites, which would be down. Nobody has phonebooks anymore, and chaos would take hold.
I may have gotten a little carried away there, but I think there is some logic hidden deep within that paragraph. #1wknotech brought up a number of questions that I didn’t think it would; I thought this project would be just be a fun, ironic tweetorama, but it turned into something much more, almost philosophical.