technoloy & community



This week’s blog prompt:

 Look at the image of the community you drew before discussion today as a case study. From the discussion we had today, what traits do you think makes it a community? Do you think social media and modern technology could impact on how your community functions?

Each of the following elements in my diagram of the important elements of my Stanford community are affected in a variety of ways by social media:

  1. a blend of social, personal, and professional/work life
    • Social media and the internet allow me to participate in my Stanford community much more easily than if I didn’t have it. I find out about lots of social events through social media, as well as keep in touch with friends and family involved in Stanford, and it definitely helps me work on projects and stay up-to-date on the goings on at IDA where I work. While all of these tools certainly have the possibility to take me out of my community and pay less attention to the events happening around me, I would say that they have a net positive effect on my communal engagement.
  2. a nurturing environment
    • Stanford certainly uses social media to make people feel welcome, especially with the class of 2016 Facebook page (and for all the other classes). At the same time, people are probably less likely to see that their friends are in need of help if they mainly keep in touch through social media, because people tend to portray only their happiest selves online, which might mean that fewer people would reach out should a friend really be in need of help.
  3. leadership and structure
    • The class of ’16 Facebook group helped me to develop an understanding of the structures and hierarchies at Stanford before I ever got there (though now it is little more than a spam-filled message board).
  4. space to grow
    • I think Solnit was right when she stated, “ Space for free thought is routinely regarded as a void, and filled up with sounds and distractions.” I think in some respects at Stanford, technology prevents us from delving as deeply into conversations, arguments and discussions, since it’s so easy to talk either talk to someone else and not have the conversation in the first place, or to hop online to avoid confrontation. With that said, I think within the STS department, they explore social media and allow us to delve more deeply into its theory and thereby use it as a space in which to grow.