How does participating in online culture differ from participating in a physical space? How is it the same?
It is human nature for people to reach out and connect with each other. Whether it is a physical embrace, a phone call, a Face Time chat, or a text message, we all want to share.
Social media now puts us closer together than ever. Whether it’s siblings who live across the country from each other, an old friend who lives in another part of the world, or a classmate who lives down the street, we all want to connect.
This connection is especially true of teenagers. Before our readings this week, I was under the impression that the growth of social media was taking the place of other forms of socializing. Well, maybe not. According to “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out” the Kaiser Family Foundation published a report about media use in American youth. In part, the report stated that “…media engagement does not crowd out time spent with parents, pursuing hobbies, or doing physical activity” (Rideout, Roberts, and Foehr 2005). So in addition to hanging out all the mall, playing a game of basketball, or going to grandma’s house, social media is just another form of communication with the people in our lives.
Social media will never replace the physical connections people need and want. We were meant to hug, kiss, smile, study body language and facial expressions. Teenagers roll their eyes at their parents. There is something special about getting an eye roll in person. It wouldn’t be the same on Face Time.
Ito, M. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT,