#1wknotech reflection

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

 

Tentative Week Without Tech

Monday: Talk about how easy it is to go a week without tech.
Tuesday: It’s getting tough, but I’m doing okay so far.
Wednesday: Not as bad as I thought it was.
Thursday: Just kidding. It’s bad.
Friday: Start withdrawal symptoms. Think about breaking it off.
Saturday: Start hallucinating about tech. See it everywhere I go (literally, but also where it isn’t present, such as the woods).
Sunday: Start to enjoy not having tech, just in time for the project to be over.

Top Five Worst Things That Would Happen If I Had No Tech for a Week

1. I wouldn’t get out of bed. My phone is my alarm clock, and I have no other substitute. I wouldn’t go buy another clock or a watch for just a week, so I would basically never get out of bed. Therefore, I would miss work and school.
2. I couldn’t do my job. I work at the Statesman, and I need to write my stories and get them to the copy editors. Then, I need to create the layout of the paper, which I need a computer to do. I also usually need to call or text some of my coworkers for this or that on production night.
3. I couldn’t finish my schoolwork. As I said before, I am writing this on a computer. I have papers and quizzes that need to be turned in online. I also have my notifications for due dates on my phone. Without those, I am lost as to when things are due.
4. I wouldn’t know what day it was. If I couldn’t watch TV or check my phone, I wouldn’t know what day it was. I could ask people, obviously, but they would then check their phone or remember that football was on two days ago, so today must be Tuesday. And buying a calendar is not an option, because it’s only a week without my phone.
5. I couldn’t talk to the people I need to talk to. If there was something important that I needed to tell someone, I wouldn’t be able to unless I ran into them somewhere. I don’t have many peoples’ numbers memorized; they are all on my phone. I also wouldn’t have a phone to get into contact with them.

Top Five Best Things That Would Happen If I Had No Tech for a Week

1. I would be able to sleep. Before I go to bed I check Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. If I didn’t have my phone, I would fall asleep much faster. Also, I read a study that if you spend an entire week in the woods with no tech, your sleep cycle will basically reset.
2. I would stop caring about stupid stuff on Facebook. I think if I went a week without Facebook, I would probably never go back. I just need to motivate myself to do so. Also, that would eliminate my problem of being shown up by my friends on Facebook.
3. I wouldn’t have as many distractions as I currently do. I would be able to completely focus in class instead of wondering if someone is trying to get in touch with me. I also wouldn’t waste time playing games like Temple Run. Furthermore, I wouldn’t always be checking my phone, almost instinctually, for the time of day. I would need to start wearing a watch.
4. People couldn’t always get a hold of me. If I wanted to get in touch with someone, I would have to be the one to call. Then I wouldn’t feel obligated to answer a text or a snapchat or something. Besides, the people who I actually want to talk to just show up at my house anyway, so that wouldn’t be a problem.
5. I would find other forms of entertainment. I would read books, which is something I do maybe once a year right now. I would go outside and enjoy nature, something I don’t do often enough. I would exercise more, which would be good.

Top Five Ways Tech Makes Me Feel Worse

1. I can see all of my classmates accomplishing things I am not doing. Logging onto Facebook makes me feel like garbage.
2. I sometimes feel addicted to technology. I use my phone for everything, and can’t imagine going a week without it.
3. People can always get in touch with me, which is not necessarily a good thing. I like to have my personal space, and I don’t like the idea that people can always get in touch with me.
4. Tech can be a distraction. Whether I’m texting someone when I should be focusing in class, or playing Xbox while I should be doing schoolwork, tech can be very distracting.
5. Tech never ends. There is always something new and exciting to discover. However, you have to wade through all the stupid stuff to find it.

Top Five Ways Tech Makes Me Feel Better

1. I can stay connected to my friends. For example, a good friend of mine just had a baby. I haven’t had time to see her and her baby in person yet, but I have seen the two on Facebook.
2. Playing video games let me escape for a little bit. When I play Grand Theft Auto, I can take my aggression out on the citizens and police officers of Los Santos. This is better than taking it out on real people in real life.
3. Playing video games gives me a sense of achievement. When I finally beat a boss in Dark Souls, I feel better about myself.
4. I can enjoy tech with my friends. Surviving a zombie apocalypse with my friends is a great way to have some fun and learn what each other’s favorite four letter words are.
5. Tech enables us to do our jobs. I am writing this on a computer, and have my phone nearby waiting for a text from one of my coworkers.

Top Five Worst Public Tech Behaviors

1. Texting while driving
Texting while driving is dangerous, not only for the texter but also for other people on the road. Put the phone down.
2. Answering a phone call while having a conversation with someone
Have you ever been conversing with someone, and they stop to answer their phone? That’s super rude, unless it’s a phone call that needs to be taken, such as a family emergency or work related.
3. Texting while eating
If you are out for food with someone, put the phone down and talk with them. The phone can wait.
4. Selfies
I feel embarrassed when I see people taking selfies. The idea of taking selfies in public makes me uncomfortable.
5. Loud Ringtones
I hate listening to peoples’ ringtones in public. I understand that “Get Low” by Lil Jon is your favorite song, but do you need it on EVERY time you get a text?