unplug to unwind

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Part I.

45 minutes.

That’s the amount of time my phone has been sitting next to me, face down, untouched. Now, I don’t know if this is the exact time because I usually check my iPhone for the time. I do wear a watch everyday, but let’s be real, I look at my phone throughout the day way more than I look at my wrist. It’s a nasty habit. I often click the button on my phone when I have absolutely no need to.

That being said, over these past 45 minutes I have not been concerned with what time it is. I have not been interrupted. My attention span has actually held longer than 3 minutes because I told myself that flipping my phone over is not an option. Occasionally, I just stare at the backside of it, fighting the temptation to quickly check if I had any texts, Snapchats, phone calls, or Facebook or Twitter notifications.

And it has only been 45 minutes.

How much could I have possibly missed out on in a mere 45 minutes? Thinking about this apart from my phone leads me to the logical answer of nothing.

Then why do I feel the need to check my phone every few minutes throughout the day? I am aware of my case of FOMO, the fear of missing out, but right now I am doing what I need to do and want to do, regardless of what could be happening in everyone else’s lives.

And I am okay.

I have not lost all my friends.

I am not unhappy.

Actually, I am peacefully content.

I adore what Anil Dash said in a blog post about JOMO, the joy of missing out:

“There can be, and should be, a blissful, serene enjoyment in knowing, and celebrating, that there are folks out there having the time of their life at something that you might have loved to, but are simply skipping,” he wrote.

Let me tell you, this has been a crazy hectic last couple of weeks. I have constantly been on the go, I have an extensive to-do list I need to be completed, my room is a mess, and my future is unknown. This is the first time in a while that my mind feels at rest. It doesn’t seem to be charging in 10 different directions. I don’t feel frantic to be doing anything else than what I am in this moment. I believe I’m experiencing JOMO.

Constantly checking my phone is a habit I don’t want to support any longer. I would much rather feel this peace than the anxiousness I experience from being overconnected and “overcommunicated,” as Joshua Gross said in a blog post.

Hey, look at that. I made it to about an hour and 15 minutes! I deserve a figurative pat on the back for sacrificing that much phone time. Or maybe I am sacrificing real, precious living time whenever I get on my phone. This time of being unplugged is the true treat, not the moment I flip my phone over and slip right back into the life of the iPhone dependent.

And man, do I love dessert.

Part II.

Looking back on the semester, I really enjoyed learning about the theory of the diffusion of innovations and how that theory applied to each communication technology we talked about. I loved seeing the different timelines for the popularization of the radio, phone, television, computer, Internet, social media, etc. I also found it fascinating the similarities between the origins of the technologies, such as the military being heavily involved in the beginning uses of many of the technologies.

You have no idea how many times I bring up concepts I’ve learned in this course, news that I hear about in class, or questions that have been our blog topics. I have a much better knowledge of when and how various communication technologies came about.

The content in this class has caused me to think about the communication technologies I have used throughout my life, what I use now, and what could be the technologies of the future. My main predictions about the future: Google will take over everything (more so than they already have), Facebook will be surpassed by a new social media site, and it will become harder and harder to unplug.



All’s Fair in Love and… Technology?

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Is all fair in love and technology?

There is no doubt about it that technology has altered the game of love.

At first, I think of the online dating sites, such as eHarmony, that have entered the playing field, but those aren’t the only technologies that have rocked the traditional way of finding your soulmate; texting and social media also add another form of communication.

These technologies are introduced with the claim to make it easier to communicate, to make and maintain relationships. So, naturally, everyone delves into it with these expectations of ease. And in some ways, these new communication technologies live into that expectation. Keeping up with a friend halfway across the world has never been so effortless. Birthdays are never forgotten. Introductions are a daily thing.

But, in my opinion, having access to these new technologies has muddied the water more than made a clear path. How so?

  1. Conversations never end. Texting and social media boast that you have the ability to talk to someone 24/7, so why shouldn’t you? You want them to know you care, so you continue texting, tweeting, Facebook messaging, etc. to prove that. This can cause relationship fatigue even if you’re barely around the person. There is no space for someone to miss you. Where is the fun in that?
  2. The value of face-to-face is diminished. You finally get to see and communicate with someone in person, yet your phone is continually gnawing at you to read your new messages and updates. How often do you put your phone away when you’re with someone? How often do you have quality time with your significant other, friend or family member that is uninterrupted? Everything is so much sweeter in person. Don’t trade that in.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all the benefits it brings. It’s a great tool and it needs to be used as just that. Everything in moderation. Well, except chocolate. That can be embraced in any amount.

This Valentine’s Day, consider putting your phone down while spending time with the people you love.

I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Hootsuite University

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What is Hootsuite and why should I care?

If you asked these questions when you saw my blog post, then you’re in good company. That is how I- and I’m sure others in my Social Media class- felt when I saw that a semester long assignment was to enroll in and become certified through Hootsuite University.

First question to address:

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is social media management system launched in 2008 which allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to easily manage all their social media platforms in a single place. With this tool, you can track what others are saying about you, follow certain hashtags, and post to all platforms simultaneously. It is the most used site of its kind.

Hootsuite University, a subset of Hootsuite, is a series of educational lectures and quizzes that gives the student a thorough rundown of what social media is and how to use it strategically. Once the course is completed, the student receives a Hootsuite Certification, which can be displayed on websites and social media profiles.

Now for the second question:

Why should I give a hoot about Hootsuite University? (In case you didn’t know, I love puns.)

Social media is rapidly becoming a necessity for businesses. Completing the Hootsuite University Certification Program can make you more marketable when interviewing for jobs. Employers want to hire someone with knowledge about social media because everything is moving in that direction.

Check out this video for a brief intro into the Hootsuite Lecture Series:

I have enjoyed the courses I have completed thus far on Hootsuite University. They explain everything in layman’s terms while also providing all the information you need. I love that I have to become certified for a class assignment because it is going to benefit my future in very practical ways.

If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, I highly suggest signing up for Hootsuite University and extending your social media knowledge beyond personal usage.