Communication Overload – Is there such a thing as too much?

Media Madness

Figure 1 Source: http://activerain.com/blogsview/4520075/are-you-suffering-from-communication-overload-

In today’s society, we are bombarded with information nearly all the hours of the day. Social media, email, texts, phone calls, and face time are all regular occurrences in a teen’s daily life. I personally check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Yik Yak, and my snapchat multiple times a day, it is just second nature and I do not even think about it. You always hear about how teens are addicted to their phones and I think that is because we want to know everything. We have to know what’s going on with our friends, the world, and everything we possibly can. Some argue that it is a good thing, but I personally believe we overload ourselves far too often.

Excerpt from field notes: “Never truly realized how much I check my social media until I kept track of it. Every time I have a free second, I refresh one of my accounts, not even with a desire to look at it, just as a way to pass the time. Then I realized almost all of my hallmates do the exact same thing.”

social media

Excerpt: Also never realized how often I use GPS. Since I’m bad with directions, I use it to get just about everywhere I’m not familiar with. This weekend I used it to go to: Walmart, home, VCU, a friend’s house, JMU, Chipotle, back to JMU, home again, VCU again, and back to CNU; in a span of only two days. Although it is a different type of communication, I believe it is just as equally significant in my life. Without Google Maps telling me where to go, I would be completely lost. Satellites thousands of miles away know my exact location and are able to tell me where to go with no problem. Really weird to think about but it’s kind of creepy…

map

Here are more random field notes:

“Teachers lecture for an hour and fifteen minutes straight… So much information they can teach in that time by just speaking, no powerpoints or anything.”

“Weird thing about homework: Most of it is assigned online, not verbally. They’ll just say to check scholar instead of telling us what it is. What about when wifi is down and how do they expect us to do it?”

“I guess everytime I volunteer to answer a question in class, I am producing information. Never thought of it that way.”

“If it was up to mom, we would talk every day on the phone. Even if we don’t have anything to talk about.”

“Talking to Hannah (my girlfriend) over the phone is much better than over text. Much more personable.”

“Our game of hall assassin is getting very intense. Everyone is talking behind people’s back and scheming. A lot of strategy and alliances being made verbally. Also trying to figure out who has who by listening to other people.”

Calling vs Texting

Figure 2 Source: http://ryan-jenkins.com/2014/04/21/the-real-reason-millennials-choose-texting-over-calling/

I liked doing my field notes because I never really thought about everything I do on a day-to-day basis and I was forced to really think about what I did every day. I communicate and receive/ distribute information a lot. The weirdest thing is, I do not even think about it. It just happens. One thing we learned about in class was our filter bubble. “A filter bubble is a result of a personalized search in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble) My personal filter bubble is pretty conservative. I am a conservative, but I do not like having only conservative sources show up if I search for something. If I were to look up “Barack Obama” on google, I would be greeted by auto search suggestions such as “is a Muslim” or is “an illegal immigrant” and other conservatively biased information. For each person, they’re filter bubble is different. (For more information on filter bubbles, watch this video: (http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles)  If you usually click on more liberal links and websites, your bubble may become more liberal. Same goes for conservative, you unknowingly decide how your filter bubble comes about.

popular internet sites represented by bubbles

Figure 3 Source: http://dontbubble.us/

After looking through my field notes, one thing became very obvious. I am always receiving information. Whether I am in class, in a meeting, doing homework, or even in my free time, I am constantly receiving new information without even realizing it. There are so many ways to communicate that you can’t even keep track. For my dad on the other hand, he only knows two forms of communication: phone calls, and face to face conversation. Which one is better? Being constantly in communication with people all over, or just being connected with a few people you choose to interact with? This is a debate constantly waged between younger and older people. Maybe younger people are too attached to their phones and social media, but then again, it could be the older people who are disconnected and are missing out on all the possibilities the digital age brings. The other issue that is growing in today’s world is the fact that so many things are moving online, but some people do not have internet access. Will these people get left behind? How do we fix it and bridge this gap of communication. It is one thing to choose not to communicate, but when it becomes an issue of IF they can communicate, we are in trouble. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/opinion/sunday/internet-access-and-the-new-divide.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2)  I believe each person has their own choice to decide what is best for them, but if there is no choice, we must fix it. There is no right or wrong answer, it is a matter of what makes you happiest, because that is the most important thing.

shutterstock_218342101

Figure 4 Source: http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/communication-practices-for-successful-networking-in-2015/

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