Author Archives: Betty Hancock

Comment on Have you ever named your phone? by Betty Hancock

I think it’s interesting that you bring up our increased dependence on phones/gadgets. I don’t necessarily have a problem with my huge dependence on my phone, but it does scare me. If there were a blackout, and I lost the ability to plug my phone in to charge it, I don’t know what I would do. If I lost it for a few days, I would be completely lost. I hate that I’m so attached to my devices that I would really struggle with meeting my basic needs if I were to lose it.

Comment on Thoughts 2/13 (Obama x Stanford x Buzzfeed) by Betty Hancock

I think it’s interesting that so much of your impression of President Obama comes from social media. I’ll be curious to see how these types of campaign/promo strategies change the content of the messages we hear about politics. With any message, the medium definitely shapes the experience, and I wonder how the rise of social media and the decline of traditional news outlets will influence what we deem as newsworthy in the world of politics.

Reading Response: “Where Do Good Ideas Come From?” by Steven Johnson

In this animated video, Steven Johnson explores the idea of what creativity has meant for humanity throughout history and how that may change in the digital era. Johnson stresses the idea that the most creative/innovative thoughts have emerged out of long periods of deliberation and collaboration with others. On the one hand, the digital era doesn’t facilitate this type of creativity. When we’re always plugged in,  we’re distracted, multitasking, and suffering from information overload, so long periods of contemplation and deliberation usually don’t happen. However, on the other hand, the internet makes it so easy to connect with other people and share ideas. So the digital era provides improvements for collaboration and communication access.

I wonder, with improvements in collaboration and setbacks in contemplation, what the net effects of technology will be on our creativity. I think that if we continue to become more and more plugged in (it seems like every year my time spent online increases) without taking the time to unplug regularly, our creativity will definitely suffer. We need to give our bodies and brains a break from the constant bombardment! We need to sleep well, eat well, and engage in hobbies or activities that take us outside of our phones/laptops. I’ve always enjoyed exercising, and this has been my form of unplugging (although I’m still connected to my phone or ipod half the time), but I want to make more of an effort to engage in yoga or meditation. I want to build time into my schedule to regularly take long mental breaks.

It frustrates me that sometimes, we high-achieving, career-oriented young people sacrifice our health and mental well-being for other goals with immediate pay-offs. We’d rather pull an all-nighter to finish a PSET than get some good rest and take a late day. We’d rather skip our morning run and finish up a paper instead than give our brains/bodies the break they need. We often view contemplation and meditation as unneccessary, fluff activities, and they’re the first thing to be cut out of our schedules when we are in a time crunch. I think our generation needs to make a serious effort to shift our thinking and view meditation or exercise or unplugging as MANDATORY AND NECESSARY DAILY ACTIVITIES, or our health and creativity will be seriously jeopardized in the long-run.

Comment on Thoughts 2/5 by Betty Hancock

I agree that the work/life balance has suffered due to technology. It’s so convenient to be able to communicate with people across the country at any moment, but when communication was hard, we had to be much more purposeful and choosey in terms of our communication. Now that I can send an email to New York and be in touch with my boss in 5 seconds, I find myself asking questions that I wouldn’t take the time to ask if communication required a larger investment of my time. The ease of communication has opened the floodgates and shut down the barrier to entry that often used to block a lot of unnecessary work-related communication.

Comment on is networked individualism selfish? by Betty Hancock

I agree that there is a potential to be really selfish, or at least really self-absorbed online. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over my Facebook or Twitter and “creeped on” my own profile to gauge what other people may think of me online. However, in the real world, I would never spend hours staring at myself in the mirror and judging what other people would think. I think the internet makes it really easy to get lost in your own world and view online friends in terms of how they can add to your social capital and how they can/will help you in the future. It’s easier to see people as tools/objects online because there’s a lack of a human element.

Comment on who needs the most help: muggles vs. wizards? by Betty Hancock

Your blog made me wonder about a new aspect of language learning that can be difficult. When someone learns a new language, they have to learn to speak differently in different contexts. The social aspects of language can often be difficult to teach/learn. I wonder how the changing dynamics of social norms online vs. in person will further complicate this problem of language learning in the modern era.

Comment on Social Media, or Networking for Introverts by Betty Hancock

It’s interesting to hear the perspective of introverts. I am a major extrovert, and the same things that bring you ease and tranquility frustrate me endlessly! I hate hate hate having conversations with people via text. For me, it’s so draining, so unfulfilling, and so difficult to have a meaningful conversation. I wonder how the communication dynamics are different between introverts, extroverts, and combos of the two.


Reflection on Social Media Platform Use

For the most part, I only use Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and Yik Yak regularly. I have very different personas on each of those social networks, and I don’t think that any of them really serves as an accurate/wholisitic representation of my identity.

Facebook: I rarely post Facebook statuses on my page anymore, and most of my Facebook use is as a consumer of other people’s content rather than as a content curator… meaning I spend most of my time on Facebook stalking other people, not crafting my own perfect profile. Since I rarely post statuses, most of the content on my profile is my tagged pictures. And I hate it! I love photos, but I am definitely not one of those people who takes out their camera (or cellphone) at every picture perfect opportunity. Most of the photos on my page are from sorority or fraternity functions where my friends want to take photos and ask me to pose in them. So someone who stalked me on Facebook might think that I spend all my time frat hopping, when in actuality, most of my Friday nights are spent at the movies or in my best friend’s bedroom crafting.

LinkedIn: I joined LinkedIn very reluctantly. Since I’m still in college and don’t have any “real world experience,” I feel really silly crafting a whole profile to display/brag about my short list of internships and part-time jobs. As much as I’ve loved each of my jobs and gained a lot from them, I don’t think my resume is as impressive as someone who’s been in the work force for several years. And a short description of each of my positions can’t even begin to sum up how much I’ve learned from each of my professional experiences. I much prefer chatting with a live person about my experiences rather than letting them read about them/judge them in just a few short words online. Freshmen year, I promised myself that I wouldn’t join LinkedIn until I had something really impressive that I was really proud of to post on my page, and I didn’t think that would occur for several years. However, the company I worked for last summer required me to create a LinkedIn profile, so I joined the site with much chagrin. However, this year when I was on the job hunt for a post-graduation dream job, I found that most of the applications I submitted asked for a link to my LinkedIn page. I was shocked to see how important having a LinkedIN is, even for someone so young and new to the world of employment.


I’m the most “myself” on Snapchat, whatever that means. It encapsulates more of my day to day life and honest, open personality than any other social media site I’m a part of. Ironically, it’s the site that I spend the least time worrying about my curated image on.


Well, my Yak Karma scores certainly reflects my strong sense of humor and love of sarcastic wit. But that’s about it. Because there’s no username or public profile, it’s hard to say that Yik Yak really represents my identity at all.



Reading Response: Danah Boyd’s “Information Access in a Networked World”

In her talk about the changing landscape of information access in the digital era, particularly for American youth, Danah Boyd categorizes the ways in which information is acquired in three simple domains: push, pull, and osmosis. Information learned via osmosis is information that people acquire accidentally; for teens, a huge source of osmotic learning is overhearing what their parents talk about/watch on television at home. Information learned via push is a bit more active, yet not fully intentional. The reading sites classroom learning as a source of push technology; students are required to show up to class and learn whatever their teachers want to present. They are forced to be active learners, yet they don’t have a say in what information is presented. In pull learning, we become activer hunters for information. Pull learning is the most exciting part of learning in the digital era, because a vast wealth of information exists online, and pulled knowledge is knowledge that we’re passionate enough about to actively seek out.

In her discussion of pull acquisition, Danah discusses Wikipedia and argues that teachers need to get better about adopting less traditional, more collaborative and open-sourced texts for classroom learning. And I completely agree. Reflecting back on my Stanford career, most of my classes assigned very traditional, scholarly readings. A small percentage of my professors (including Professor Rheingold) have adopted more forward-thinking ways of assigning reading and have included blog posts, TedTalks, and more “pop-culture-y” types of information sources on the syllabus. And I’ve found that I’ve retained much more of the information from these readings/posts/articles over time. Perhaps it is simply that these texts are more approachable, perhaps they’re more engaging, or perhaps they’re just concise/entertaining enough to make reading pleasurable, but perhaps there’s a more scientific explanation for what’s going on. What types of readings have you guys found “stick in your head” the most? What types of classroom readings do you prefer?