Libraries, Life, Technology

Sensory Overload

Jonny Nintendo, I like this tweet and you know what? I can’t prove you wrong because I agree with it so very much.

I’ve never seen the show Rick and Morty but someone tells me it is about time travel. I really like time travel. But you know what? I read about what their fans did after they didn’t get some special sauce at McDonald’s and you know what? I don’t ever wanna watch this show.

I struggle with being a Weezer fan, and a big part of it has to do with the band’s fan base. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it sucks. It is a thing that now weighs on me heavily when I listen to this band.

This is the way of the world these days. Fans believe that passion should be brought to the table at every moment. Coupled with the internet, a place where people feel the need to be as loud and obnoxious as they can dream of being, and what you have is a hot mess. Things just don’t feel right these days. The world feels a bit off, and I just can’t help but to point a finger towards fandom and being loud on the internet as one of the things contributing to this feeling.

Of course I still have social media accounts. We all do and we’re not getting rid of them anytime soon. These feelings have been brewing in me a long time. Facebook has basically replaced email with Messenger as one of the defacto ways to communicate with another human being (texting being the other). The Facebook News Feed however, is a mess of rubbish, noise, and advertising. Twitter seems to be the place to figure out a way to wittily relevant things in 140 characters or less. It used to be my favorite social media channel that would inspire me endlessly. Now I just want to close the window and log out.

Things are moving so very quickly. Things are so very loud. Sensory overload has taken us all over. We need a break from the fans, from social media, from the world. We need to learn what how to be human beings again.

 

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Libraries, Social Media, Technology

The Collective Ugggh

Over the past month, I’ve been really down on social media to the point where I’ve been paranoid to log in, comment, or post anything for fear of being overwhelmed.  I believe they call it social media fatigue and I’ve read about it here and here in the past.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and if you’re reading this looking for a cure all or something like that to fix social media fatigue, I don’t have it for you.  I’ve done a number of things to help myself get over this and the downward spiral it can throw someone into (“I’m a horrible person.  I want to sleep all day. I hate people.”) and few things have stuck and few things haven’t.  But one thing that I’ve noticed is what I’m calling The Collective Uggggh.  In fact, I fell into it today.

It makes you feel like this

The Collective Ugggggh is what I’m calling when you log into a social network or read an article on a news site and you see the following filling up your feed:

  • Complaining about something work/life related
  • Reposting about something horrible that was said/did and then scrolling and scrolling to see pages upon pages of commenting that goes nowhere

It’s called the The Collective Ugggggh because it makes you feel that way inside. We’re all guilty of it.  In fact, like I said above I was guilty of it this morning (that’s when I had the A-HA! moment, decided to stop and wrote this post about it).

So what’s the solution?  I could say that you could unfriend/unfollow everyone, not comment, delete everything, and a number of other tricks like that but will that work in the long run?  I highly doubt it.  You’ll miss it.  Why?  Because social media is pretty awesome despite all of its flaws.  It’s great to share, read, and connect with people.

Instead, what I’m going to focus on going forward is positivity.  Sure, I may be having a hard day and want to let off some steam, but from now on I’m going to ask myself is it really worth posting about and then spending the next few minutes of my life reading and commenting on?  To me, it isn’t.  I’ll take that moment, deal with it in my own way, and move on.  I’ve decided that chorus of The Collective Ugggggh isn’t worth it anymore.

Libraries, Music, Technology

Portland high schools take byte out of laptop use at home

There’s a lot of talk going on about the recent announcement that Portland, Maine area schools will be filtering the school issued netbooks at home in addition to while the students are in school.

Everyday here in the teen library we see anywhere from 70-100 teens everyday (last Tuesday, we saw 153 teens!) .  These teens come to our library as a meeting place and use our resources.  Many of them rely on their netbooks as their primary source of connection.  This connection includes internet access, word processing, social networking and Skype to communicate with their friends and family, and YouTube to connect them to their passions (many of them use YouTube to listen to music and watch soccer games).  These teens (many of which are immigrants from Sudan, Somalia, and Rwanda) use this connection for good.  It helps them connect with their family and friends through social networks.  It gives them access to the music and soccer they love so much, the hobbies they enjoy that keep them going.

The original article can be found here
The Portland Press Herald Opinion piece can be found here
Cory Doctorow’s response on Boing Boing can be found here

Here’s some great information that I’ve found to be very helpful in understanding teens, social media, and just how this all fits together in their lives and how librarians can help them

Teens and Social Media from the Pew Research Group
Elements of Educational Technology by  Heather Braum
Straight from the DOE: Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites by Tina Barseghian

The use of social media – from blogging to online social networking to creation of all kinds of digital material – is central to many teenagers’ lives.

Some 93% of teens use the internet, and more of them than ever are treating it as a venue for social interaction – a place where they can share creations, tell stories, and interact with others.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004.

Preparing teens for their future in a digital, connected world is imperative this day and age.  Technology will continue to become a larger part of our lives every day, and it is in our best interest to offer these teens access to the tools they need now to give them the best chance they have to succeed tomorrow.