new media and relationships

Today's class discussion has been one of my favorites thus far. I really enjoyed spending time discussing topics and issues that I can fully relate to in my everyday style of life – therefore I want to further discuss some of the things I began thinking about right here on our class blog…

As we discussed the significance of worldwide forms of communication, such as the existence of Facebook, Instant Messenger, and Cellular Text Messaging, I started to think about the affects these technologies have had on myself, and my relating to others. When touching upon the reading, the very significant point that "virtual technology can be so distancing from the real world that we don't make connections in the same way anymore." I thought about the relationship I had with a former boyfriend of mine, and one of the most disturbing, as well as fascinating realizations I had after we broke up: our relationship was based on technology, and the societal development of new media was responsible for the reduction of romance and dating.

The dating/courting stage that should typically consist of talking and getting to know one another's inner qualities in person actually consisted of talking and getting to know one another through nightly Instant Message chats in my circumstance. We saw each other throughout the day at school, and had the ability to talk on the phone, however for some strange reason we chose to talk online – maybe for the sole concept of it being easier, as there exists more time to think before speaking, and the overall lack of pressure involved. (Before I say anymore, I want you all to keep in mind that my ex-boyfriend and I DID spend time together to talk in person, and we did spend time talking on the phone, however a large portion of our relationship somehow ended up developing through technological forms of communication).

Anyway, as our relationship grew, I noticed that we would spend countless hours text messaging one another, rather than speaking on the phone – and most of all, I noticed that a large portion of our arguments took place through angry IM's, ending with apology messages on MySpace. Rarely did we work things out on the phone or in person, as once again, why would we want to encounter the uncomfortable vibes existing in "face to face" or "phone to phone" arguments that people knew no other way around in previous times?

I guess the most fascinating aspect of all was when I realized I had the ability to access a majority of our relationship's development by simply using my I Chat's version of "Dead AIM." For those of you who have not heard of this, Dead AIM is a program that can be downloaded in order to have each and every Instant Message conversation saved to your computer. I know, it sounds creepy, however it can be quite useful to refer to at times. My I Chat program on my Mac computer has a version of this that automatically saves my conversations, therefore I can always look back on any fight, any conversation, any form of my relationship's development with my Ex because we spent so much time IM-ing one another. Now how many people can walk away from a relationship and have the entire progression right there on the computer to look back on? This definitely was not possible awhile back…However, on the other hand, it is a bit upsetting to recognize the decrease in all forms of interacting due to modern technologies – such as arguing and having deep discussions in the presence of a boyfriend, girlfriend, or simply just a friend.

I agree that today was a really easy and fun entry point into new media . . . I really felt like I could relate to what we were talking about, too. I would definitely recommend that future MS 51 courses begin with a discussion like ours today, just to get people thinking about all of the ways new media impacts them personally.

I think it was also really interesting today how we talked about texting (SMS--as I learned today!) in the U.S. vs. Europe/Asia . . . I would be really interested to know such steep cost differences exist between our nation, and others. I think whoever said cost was a huge deterrent in relation to Americans not texting as much as people from other areas of the world.

I also had a good vibe after leaving class because so many people were involved in the discussion and everyone could relate. Furthermore, everything just flowed, raising a hand wasn't even an issue.

I loved AIM in high school for relationships. There is none of the awkward downtime on the phone when no one knows when to speak and there is ample time to figure out an appropriate response. Text messaging was also key as you could talk without really having to say anything. I never got into MySpace, so it wasn't part of any of my relationships.

I never used Dead AIM, but I had about 5-6 pages of quotes from my crazy friends and our online conversations.

Which brings me to my topic, Poking:
I was recently poked by a girl I know very, very limitedly. I consider poking to be some strange way to flirt without having to do it eye to eye with a person you are attracted to but don't know. My basic dilema is this, what is the proper response?
I can't poke back because I would be lying following my definition of poke. But I also want to acknowledge the gesture appropriately. Do I poke back anyway? Do I simply ignore it and hope for the best? Do I not poke back, but write a letter explaining myself?

P.S. - Good Post Sari

I also think that poking is done to kind of allude to the possibility of a crush, but also, more often do I find that it is used for no reason at all. I also had a similar experience in which a girl, who I didn't even remember meeting, added me as a friend and then began to poke me. At first my initial reaction was to poke back, which I did. (And which I usually do without even realizing that I am doing it and to whom). But then the situation just kept getting weirder. I was trying to think of all the possible reasons why this person would want to poke me and thus concluded that she merely was intrigued by my life and somehow wanted to be a part of it. (A little far fetched but let me have my delusions!!)I subsequently removed her as a friend because I was so freaked out at the idea that someone was watching me from afar.

So I guess my only advice to you is to poke her back. Unless it just completely creeps you out. Then just don't! She probably won't notice, unless she really does have a crush on you.

I didn't poke back, I'm just scared. I don't think I am one for cyberspace contact, I'll stick with the real thing.