Connected While Alone But Disconnected When Together?

How common is texting and instant messaging (IM’ing)? How many texts or IMs do students send and receive per day? What times of day? How much time do students spend texting or messaging each day? During class or meetings at work? Do they text in English, Arabic, a combination of the two, or other languages? Do texting and IM’ing enhance quality of life, help maintain friendships and close families? Or are users so distracted when texting that that they are learning less while in class, listening less to their friends and family, and not really spending “quality time” when they are in the same physical space? What are the pros and cons of IM’ing?

These are some of the questions students in Com 360 (Research) are exploring,  after fleshing out the ingredients of qualitative interviewing, and after reviewing the chapter on Questionnaires in Applied Research Methods for Mass Communicators (Reagan).

Is there a correlation between constant texting and attention deficit disorder? Research suggests there is.

Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT in Boston, has been researching the impact of new technologies for nearly 30 years. “The Flight from Conversation” was a thoughtful article she wrote for The New York Times. And she gave this TED Talk, “Connected While Alone,” which asks, “As we expect more from technology, do we expect less of each other?”

Drill Deeper:

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