At the beginning of the semester, I did not know what to expect from this FYOS course. I chose it because it was a course that appealed to me the most while conveniently working with my schedule. However, I’m very glad I ended up choosing this FYOS. The workload was manageable and allowed for personal reflection, the in class discussions were insightful, and I really learned about my own media usage. As a result of this course, I learned the most about how dependent I am on media, as observed through my daily media logs, and that this usage exceeds more than just social media, ranging from PowerPoint presentations in class to music on Spotify. I think what will stick with me the most from this course is an increased awareness of my media usage and an overall understanding of the effects media has in my future, especially in my career.
I researched the impact of media usage on the field of medicine, particularly in the career of a physician assistant. I found a useful article, written by Anne Dang, which can be found here, that discusses how media impacts this specific career and how it’s changed throughout the years. It stresses that the creation of certain social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have had an impact on medicine by making health accessible to all. Different forms of media such as support forums, physician websites, webinars, and blogs have provided opportunities to access experts and other patients that might not have otherwise been available through more traditional means. This also allows for the sharing of more information, without breaking physician-patient confidentiality. One can use this information to learn from, as this increase in its availability allows for this type of personal and professional learning to take place on a much larger scale.
Anne Dang also gives personal insight on the impact social media has had on her career as a physician assistant. She says, “I have been able to build my network, access educational and mentoring opportunities, as well as garner interest from patients and prospective students about the profession.” Personal and immediate connections to other doctors, nurses, and patients is important in this field, as well as access to other opportunities, such as mentoring, internships, and further research. Media allows for these to be possible, benefitting many people, both physician assistants and those outside of the field as well.
I inputted my media usage observed last week into bar graphs and included a trend line to note any patterns in my usage. As I had noted in my previous blog post, my media throughout the week gradually increases as the day goes on. I tend to take a break from school after I’m finished with classes, either watching Netflix or checking my Twitter updates. On the weekend, with more free time on my hands, I tend to use media more consistently, as illustrated by the trend line. My average total numbers of hours of media usage on the weekends exceeds that of the amount on a weekday.
This past week, I also tried to modify my media usage. I started off strong, attempting to avoid any sort of unnecessary form of media (usually a social media platform) while doing my homework. Even though I tried to “avoid” media, I still ended up having to use different forms of media to complete my homework assignments, including eLC, WebAssign, etc. As a result, I ended up getting work done more efficiently, but this only lasted for a day or two, as a result of the election. The election results made staying away from an excessive intake of media almost impossible. I was always either watching the news, checking Twitter, or watching Snapchat stories of the election results. I found it interesting at how active certain social media platforms become and how users come together as a result of these nationwide matters.
After two days of logging and observing my social media usage, I realized I use my phone a lot more on the weekends as opposed to on a typical weekday. I made sure to observe my usage on a day I know I would use social media more frequently (Friday) as opposed to days I spent solely studying for my chemistry test (Monday-Wednesday). I frequently used social media apps on my phone when eating at dining halls or when I’m simply just chilling in my dorm room. On a weekday, I tend to not use it as much during the day (when I have classes), but observed my highest usage between the 4-6pm when I go back to my dorm after a long day of classes. This is because I like to relax during this time period and check up on everything I’ve missed during the day. I also tend to use social media before I go to bed as well. On Saturday, I found myself using social media pretty consistently throughout the day, as I was not so occupied with school and classes.
Besides the amount of time I use social media, I also observed what certain platforms I use. I use Snapchat the most, as this is an easy way to communicate with friends, and also use Twitter and Instagram. At the end of both days (Friday and Saturday) while I was out with friends, my phone died. This made me realize how often I actually do use my phone and how much those social media apps drain my battery. While I was still out with friends, I would often attempt to turn my phone on to check a certain social media app, only to remember that my phone was dead. However, it made me realize that checking these apps was not a necessity at the time, as I should be paying more attention to my friends and the current moment we’re enjoying rather than being engrossed by social media.
After reading the articles about social media auditing, I decided to take their advice and google myself. Besides finding many pictures of an actress with the same name, I didn’t come across any of my social media accounts or pictures of me when I googled my name. Pictures of me or links to my accounts are probably less accessible since I’ve never had a Facebook account and my last name is often assumed to be a misspelling of the word “fairly”. During my application process for college and jobs, I put both my Twitter and Instagram profiles on private in order to make sure that my accounts did not hurt my chances. Even though I don’t post anything bad on social media, I wanted to take these extra precautions.
After this application process, I took my social media off of private, since I don’t really mind who else (besides colleges or companies) sees what I post on the internet. If someone was to look at my account, I would come across as a friendly person (at least I hope). I mainly only post pictures of me and my good friends on Instagram, since I value pictures with meaningful people in them. I use Instagram to look back on memories, and pictures with others always hold more meaning to me than a picture of a flower or a mountain. I don’t try to put too much thought into what I post, or try to have a certain “aesthetic” to my account, because I feel as if this takes away from this memorable aspect of Instagram.
The topic covered in the article that I found most compelling was the concept that certain changes made to social media can cause it to become more or less addictive, as I can immediately think of an example of each of these instances. I remember when Snapchat first updated their app to include interactive filters. Everybody at my high school couldn’t put their phones down, as it was hard to resist playing around with these fun filters. I can admit that this update with filters made the app a lot more addictive than it was before, as I still use these filters just as frequently today. On the other hand, I became less “addicted” to Twitter after they updated their app and took away the “Activity” page, where you could see what those you follow are doing, such as who they follow or what tweets they “favorite.” This update made it harder to find new accounts to follow and discover funny tweets.
I also found Harris’ social media tracking software very interesting as well, as it would lead to new findings about our excessive usage. Personally, I wouldn’t download a software like this, probably because the results would scare me and I would be in denial about how much I actually use my phone/social media. If somebody was to use Harris’ software, I think it would be beneficial to discover which forms of social media they use the most, and for how long. This would allow them to cut their time spent on social media and learn how to use it more efficiently.
I interviewed a friend from my hall about her use of social media. I know she uses different platforms for different purposes, and figured that interviewing her would be fitting for this assignment. She utilizes Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Snapchat the most. I use Instagram and Snapchat as well, but don’t have a Facebook and haven’t updated my Tumblr blog in over two years. She mainly commented on how social media has impacted her life and why she uses it in the first place. Her comment that stood out to me the most was when she said that she quickly loses interest in social media because she often feels as if she can’t “live up” to other people’s lifestyles. As a result, she takes long breaks from her social media after she loses this interest. For example, she just recently posted her first picture on Instagram in over a year, whereas I’ve posted many more within this past year.
I found her feeling very interesting, as I’ve never felt this way when using social media, but can definitely understand where she was coming from. My friend also commented on how her social media habits have changed since coming to college, as she tends to use snapchat a lot more frequently. I tend to use snapchat more as well, since it’s a fast and easy way to communicate with new friends. She also commented that she is pretty exclusive in who she lets follow her, since she keeps her accounts on private or only accepts certain friend requests on Facebook or Snapchat. This made me reflect on my own social media accounts, as I keep mine pretty public to the world. However, her input made me consider changing this.
I have been a frequent user of social media, but began using it much later than most people I know. I went to a very small school prior to high school, and felt as if social media wasn’t necessary since I saw everybody I knew every single day. High school was a time when I experimented with different social media platforms and discovered which ones I liked best, those being Twitter and Instagram. But since leaving for college, social media has allowed me to stay in contact with people from my high school, whether we were close friends or not. Social media has also allowed me to connect with those I meet at college in different ways. I’ve used social media, such as GroupMe and Snapchat, to communicate with those I’ve met.
I agree that some users do use social media “to pump up their egos and flatter themselves with a cascade of “micro-affirmations” — a.k.a. likes.” I have never been very concerned with the amount of followers I have or the number of likes I get on a certain picture, but I know some people who are. One of my friends even contemplated deleting an Instagram picture because it didn’t have “enough likes.” An addiction to social media to this extent, to the point where it defines your dignity, is unhealthy and is definitely an increasing problem with more and more people using social media. Social media acts as a way to stay in contact with others and to express oneself, but it is the user’s responsibility to not let it define them.
Media ecology is the study of media as an environment. Media plays such a large role in our lives that it shapes our environment by filtering what we read and see and manipulating how we feel. The media ecology of my high school varies greatly from that of UGA, in terms of the uniformity of the media used. Everybody at my high school was required to purchase the same version of a Chromebook, in which we could only use Google Chrome, Gmail, and Google Classroom. All of the forms of media we used were monitored by our teachers using a software called Go Guardian, in which they could watch our screens and close any tabs or apps we had open on our laptops. After arriving at college, it’s been nice to have the freedom of the ability to use my computer how I want to in class and not be limited to what only a Chromebook can offer. It took time to adjust to new forms of media that UGA prefers, such as Microsoft Outlook over Gmail or PowerPoint over Google slides, but the adjustment wasn’t hard, as these forms of media are very similar to one another.
Another difference in media between my high school and UGA is the forms of media that professors and teachers use to communicate. In high school, many of my teachers used Remind 101 and Google Classroom to contact students. On the other hand, professors at UGA use email and eLC as a form of communication. Although different institutions utilize varying forms of media, it isn’t hard to adjust to these changes, as media is so universal. Different forms of media affect the media ecology of an institution, as what content we receive and how we receive it varies depending on the media platform used.
I don’t believe that email as a whole is a “legacy media.” However, certain aspects of it seem to have been replaced by modern technology, such as texting, instant messaging, and even “DM-ing.” These more modern forms of messaging allow for easier access to others and faster communication. Yesterday, I watched the movie You’ve Got Mail with a few of my friends from my hall and found the emphasis on email throughout the movie very interesting, as it was released in 1998. The characters’ main form of communication is through email, and I compared that to how it differs from today’s media culture. If that movie was released today, the characters would have most likely only communicated through texting.
Email still plays a large role in my life today. I tend to use email for more “formal” conversations, such as those with my professors, teachers, and boss. On the other hand, I use texting or calling for the more “informal” ones with my family and friends. I think that email is still widely used today, for these more “formal” conversations serve as a sign of respect to those you’re speaking with. Conversations via texting or instant messaging are almost too personable and casual for those who are considered your superior. Universities are so “email-crazy” because this form of communication is so universal and is able to be easily distributed to large groups of people, which other methods cannot offer. One of the downsides of email is the emergence of mismatched exchanges between professors and students. This is most likely due to the fact that students use more modern forms of communication to such a great extent that the type of lingo used for these is translated over to emails. Despite its downfalls, I don’t think email will become a “legacy media” any time soon.