A commonly brought up theme in society is how technology affects us socially. Several of us have written blog posts about this, so I figured I would try to observe a correlation between the two in our class. I collected data during Thursday’s (Feb. 5th) class. I observed how many people fiddled around on their laptops or phones while waiting for class to start against the number of people who did not. I observed this to see how it might affect people socially. Only 11% of the students did not use some sort of technology before class on Thursday. As one may assume, the students who socialized before class were the students who were not absorbed in the technology at hand.On Thursday, 100% of the 11% not using technology before class spoke to one another.
On the other hand, only 5% of the 89% using technology on Thursday spoke to someone else or engaged in any kind of social interaction.
From the data it is clear that the individuals who chose not to open their laptop or pull out their phone became more socially active with the other students who were also “present” in that moment. I then took this a step further and wanted to know that if a student socialized more before class (meaning they did not use technology in this case) would he/she also talk more in the group discussion?
This also proved to be the true. Students who socialized before class averaged 5.6 responses during class discussion. Students who did not socialize before class averaged only 1.4 responses.
Though there are many factors such as personality, comfortability in social settings, and other variables affecting how we socialize, technology seems to be an effective way to escape a social situation and keep others from including you. It seemed as students talked more before class they became more comfortable in the group setting and were more willing to offer their thoughts on subjects discussed in class.
This picture describes what I observed in class. I feel as though we miss new perspectives and thoughts from others around us when we (ironically) strive so desperately to stay “connected” to everyone else in the world. It becomes easy to miss what’s happening right in front of us.