Thoughts 2/5

A reading that I particularly enjoyed for next week’s class is by Wellman and Rainie called “The New Social Operating System of Networked Individualism.” While there are many points that I would love to expand on (like the idea that we now “rely less on permanent membership” or the concern of us living in a “diminished world where trust is lower, social cohesion is reduced, loneliness is widespread…”) the theme that stood out the most for me was the idea that you now can’t really escape work. The article says:

“Home and work have become more intertwined than at any time since hordes of farmers were out into their fields. The interpretation of home and work goes in both directions… Their home is their workplace.”

I found this quote particularly powerful because my parents have their own business. Growing up, my parents’ business was my second home: if I wasn’t at home doing homework, I brought homework to my parents’ business. Business phone calls were sometimes conducted during dinner, or invoices would need to be prepared before bedtime. Today, my mom spends a majority of her time working at home because of the versatility of email, and upon reflection it seems like work (unfortunately) has become her life.

We always mention the possible implications of our lives as they transition onto the Internet, and I never really thought of social media (or broadly, technology advancements) as a completely negative thing. However, work was a new perspective that I hadn’t considered before reading this article. Even as college students we are already constantly checking our emails, and I think that in itself has implications and consequences for how we view work. Personally, I believe work is an area that is negatively affected by technology. Even though it has made communication easier and more efficient, it has really seeped into our everyday lives, and I don’t think that’s a tradeoff I would want to have.