In Chapter 5 and throughout the book, Rainie and Wellman discuss the argument that community is falling apart because internet use has led people to lose contact with authentic in-person relationships as they become ensnared online in weak simulacra of reality. Looking specifically at the Internet and Mobile Revolution, they go on further to state two contrasting images which often come to mind: 1) a world without borders and endless amount of friendship and knowledge at people's fingertips and 2) a lonely individual, hunched over a computer or smartphone avoiding human contact.
Although I see where isolation is a problem for some, I believe the internet has enriched our present lives and the ability to communicate to our friends and family all over the world. After talking with my mother about our births and how communication to our family members happened some 30 years ago, here were a few distinct difference that now exist with our generation:
- Instead of the father coming out to the waiting room to announce the birth and gender, my brother sent a mass text to all of us that said, "Those chimes you just heard were for us and our beautiful daughter."
- We saw a photo of her via text before we saw actually saw her in person for the first time.
- Instead of using a landline and paying high costs for long distance calls, everyone texted or called a family member from their cell phones while we were in the waiting room.
- Instead of sending birth announcements a few days later, they posted a photo of their new family on Facebook with the announcement of their daughter's name and that Mom was doing great. (Within 24 hours, Matt and Katie had 163 "Likes" and 72 comments on this photo! Think of the postage that saved!)
- Instead of taking a few days to develop film and send pictures to relatives via the US Post Office, we uploaded photos from our camera and phones to Dropbox and shared the link to relatives across the country.
- Instead of using landlines, we skyped with relatives to share the news and first photos (below).
- Instead of setting a video camera up on a tripod, my brother can easily take a video of the baby with his phone and text it to me in a minute's notice.
|Skyping with my Great Aunt (86) and Uncle (87) in Wyoming to share the news of my niece's birth a few hours after being born.|
The conclusion of Chapter 6 states, "Families have less face time, but more connected time using mobile phones and the internet." (Pg. 170) I am so thankful for this as I'll be able to watch my niece Marissa grow up via my computer and cell phone screens and not miss nearly as much as I would have a decade ago. Instead of isolation, The Triple Revolution will help bring our family closer together and give us the ability to share stories, photos and videos on a daily basis. I can attend birthday parties via Skype and see her in live time any time I want. It's a great time in the communication world to be an aunt!
On a completely different note, I really enjoyed and even laughed out loud at the notion of Romeo and Juliet in Chapter 4 and what would have happened if they would of had access to cell phones. Wellman and Rainie actually expanded on this even more and wrote an entire article that was published in a new journal, Mobile Media and Communication. It's pretty good and if only there was Facebook in 1591 as well!