Technology and Communication
This summer I’ve had a number of conversations about Thrive with Less with various people. A lot of time it’s just asking what the state of the project is, but it’s been really enjoyable in that we often start discussing the challenges and how those are still affecting us or what the merits of those challenges are. Hearing different perspectives has definitely been an eye opening experience, and I really think it’s done a lot for me personally to see the larger scope of how these different topics affect our every day life.
A frequent point of conversation has been technology and communication and our use of social media. For the challenge and for the film, we all gave up social media in different ways. Some of us didn’t use Facebook, some gave up social media completely, and others strictly limited their time on them. Yet there was an inherent contradiction here as we still used social media to promote the project and spread the word about the film.
We justify this by saying that we got away from using social media as a time waster or a replacement for real human communication. And I think both those things are still very important - for me at least, there are better things I could be doing with my time than spending it scrolling through a news feed. And I would definitely prefer to speak to someone in person than just over the internet.
But at the same time, social media does create a lot of conversations as people share thoughts and ideas and articles and discuss them, and I think that can be a really good thing. I think I get most of my news from social media, and it’s great because I get content that is relevant to me because it’s my friends that are sharing it with me, not just flipping through one newspaper or one website.
And as we’ve seen in the past few years, social media can be a pretty powerful tool for organization, whether it’s motivating people to donate to a relief effort or helping to spark and sustain a revolution.
What I’m trying to get at here is that I’ve had a personal change of heart in regards to technology. Yes, it can certainly be a vice for some people, but at the same time, it’s a great tool to stay in communication when other methods aren’t so easily accessible. I can keep in touch with my friends as they tour across the country because I follow them on Twitter, or regularly see what my family is doing across the state by seeing their statuses on Facebook.
These are probably really obvious thoughts, but given that I spent a fair amount of time this year trying to completely turn away from social media that it’s given me a new perspective and appreciation of it. If nothing else, we have these tools, and we might as well use them for something rather than wasting the privilege we do have.
Would I still challenge people to give it up for a time? Absolutely. But I definitely don’t think it’s something we should cut out of our lives entirely. We just need to be aware of what our actions are and think critically about them rather than just accepting that Facebook is the thing we should spend all our time on because it’s what the rest of our generation is doing.
These thoughts came out of conversation, and I’d love to keep it going - digitally or personally. If you’ve tried giving it up, how did that work out for you? Let us know what you think about our use of social media today or how it affects you daily.