Monday, March 25, 2013


So many peers have added great content this week! MJ, I commend you on showcasing Craigslist Joe, as I believe it is a great, recent example of how 'community' still exists in a networked society today. With the Rainie and Wellman book in mind, I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to bring to this week's discussion online. Being a networked individual goes far beyond the frame of social media and touches us in ways (through technology you deviants) probably never thought possible. You don't have to imagine this--we see it all around us, everyday.

My uncle Kevin receives 10, 20, 30 text messages per day from a pivot(s) that requires attention, adjusting, fixing, etc. An inanimate object that waters crops on a farm now 'knows' how to text the farmer and ask for help. Genius. Similarly, each time he sets foot in a tractor to plant or harvest, he drives it to one end of the field, connects the GPS device among other devices in the cab, and the vehicle not only knows what path it will take this year, but it is basing the path taken this year on the path taken in years prior, as to not plant in the same lines each year. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Our phones connect to our home security systems, our cable boxes, and our vehicles. We update social media, we shop, we pay bills from them. They become GPS devices, they become cameras, they become stereos and radio stations. But what we do most from them? ...we TEXT.

I remember reading an article a few months back that was about a husband and a wife. Their chief complaint: they no longer had anything to talk about at night. They provided each other with so many text messages throughout the day, that when the day was complete and they were at home together, they had already filled each other in on the day's 'happenings' and sat silent at the dinner table. Not every day was identical--when work was busy with no time to text, the night had conversation. If time was found, however, to text the happenings and frustrations and everything else that came into play, the evenings remained dull.

Life experience, no need for citations: Our attitudes have changed regarding working and home life in the last 50 years and technology certainly has something to do with it. The book's example of Mad Men is bang on--there was a clearer separation of work and home in years past. At least two of my last three full-time work places often referenced and talked about "how we spend more time with our colleagues each week then we may spend with our loved ones and families." Then why do we feel it necessary to check e-mail at home for work? Why do we accept phone calls about work when we are at home with our families? Because this is the new norm (and I realize it is not new), we believe this is expected of us. It is the trend, we are to be trendy, let's all fall in line with the times.

[Sorry, had to respond to a text message to the boyfriend, and clear out some junk mail that came through my e-mail]. Where was I?

The truth is, just as we let work interrupt home time, we let home and life interrupt work time. Because of this constant imbalance between work and home, we let it continue and grow accustomed to it because we are trying so desperately to balance the time out. 

And this is all a part of the bigger picture: We want to be, to feel, and absolutely be, connected.   


  1. I love the pivot example. Technology has really made a difference in farming, as it has in so many other occupations.
    (And I have to admit...I often text my kids even when they're just downstairs!)

  2. It's especially hard these days to keep work and home separate with so many people being self-employed and/or small business owners... my husband is self-employed so he really doesn't get a "vacation". You eat what you kill, right?