As technology has developed over time, the missing gaps between communication and distance that we may know a little too well, are starting to form together and grow to create this idea of media space. Whilst social media platforms like Facebook, Skype or Instagram are ‘taking over’ the online world, the concept of communication difficulty regarding time, place and distance, is no longer an issue. Not only are these platforms bringing online relationships closer together, they are also expanding our sense of engagement and connection like never before.
As you may know, during the last semester of 2016 I decided to study abroad through an exchange program at California State University in Long Beach, CA. Not only was this a step outside my comfort zone by immersing myself in a completely new environment, but it was also a challenge to discover media space, new places and the difference between face-to face-communication and online conversation.
I found whilst overseas that my engagement with relationships back home were in some cases stronger than they had ever been before. I believe that the way we now project our personal persona online, has impacted the way we engage with our online audience.
In THIS report, F. Stutzman discusses the sharing of personal identity amongst social network communities and modern social media platforms. It has become such a common conversation that modern technologies are changing the way we connect with people, and in my experience overseas, I believe that instantaneous communication amongst these platforms, e.g. my continuous Instagram posts, allowed for a much stronger engagement and sense of connection with my personal audience.
Face-to-face VS. Cyber Space
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Whilst studying in Long Beach, I found it so easy to stay in contact with people from back home. Within the first week of moving into my apartment, I bought a sim card with 4G – which meant I was able to Facetime my mum, my grandma, my best friends and pretty much everyone I needed to at all times!
“Social networks and the need to communicate are universal human condition. A general assumption is that communication technologies help to increase and strengthen social ties.” (Coyle, C., & Vaughn, H, 2008.)
It almost seemed as though my engagement with these people had increased overseas. Whether or not this was because there was so much exciting stuff happening in my life – I’m not sure – However I do know I talked to my brother a LOT more than usual…
Advancements in media technologies allowed for my personal audience to feel a stronger connection to me whilst I was overseas, and I believe in the future this level of engagement will only increase. I am genuinely excited for future technologies to immerse, however my question that remains is, Does all of this ‘sharing’ and ‘connectedness’ determine a positive or negative outcome for the individual? In my experience, it has been positive… however I’ll let you decide your opinion on that one!
Coyle, C., &Vaughn, H. (2008). ‘Social Networking: Communication revolution or evolution?’Bell Labs Technical Journal, 13 (2), 13-17. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, Accessed on July 25 2017.
Stunztman, F, 2016. An Evaluation of Identity-Sharing Behavior in Social Network Communities, [Online]. Available at: <http://www.units.miamioh.edu/codeconference/papers/papers/stutzman_track5.pdf> [Accessed 27 July 2017].
S, Turnbull 2017, ‘Media, Audience, Place: Getting Sorted Out,’ PowerPoint slides, BCM240, University of Wollongong, viewed 25 July, 2017.