Will Social Media Replace Face-to-Face Communication?

I recently came across an interesting video named ‘How Social Media is rewiring Our Brains’ posted on The Business Insider’s Science YouTube channel. The video discusses the impact that social media has on the way our brains function when creating social connections and relationships with others. Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine speaks about how social media is actually physically rewiring our brains. After watching the video in its entirety, I started to wonder how social media has changed the way we engage with others in a teaching and learning environment. If social media can condition the mind in a behaviouristic manner, how does this impact a students learning in an online environment? Has social media replaced face-to-face relationships or has it enhanced our human connections? With my sites set on developing online programs and curriculum, this topic has sparked some interesting questions and observations about how online communication may effect the learning environment.

If social media and other asynchronous methods of communication are not giving people more face-to-face time with others, will the new generation of learners possess a more surfaced level of experiencing the world around them?

In my recent experience in an online learning environment I found that there are human factors that are lost in online communication. The premise that social media and asynchronous methods of communicating lack human factors such as eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gesture, timing and intensity that humans need to communicate effectively, is something that I would like explore and research. If we rely solely on linear ways of communication, such as text, email and social media, will the effects of this communication cause our students to think and receive information in a linear way as well? Will this form of communication impact the way we build relationships with others and will social media replace face-to-face communication?

social media communication
shoeboxblog.com (2015)

If social media and other asynchronous methods of communication are not giving people more face-to-face time with others, will the new generation of learners possess a more surfaced level of experiencing the world around them? If this is true, I wonder what role social media will play in teaching and learning in an online environment? How will students interact, communicate and interpret information if there is no human factor involved?

What are your thoughts? Do you think social media has replaced face-to-face communication? How do you think social media will impact teaching and learning in an online environment? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

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Educator Turned eduBlogger

Blogging
http://www.brainsonfire.com (2014)

Over the past few years, I have blogged in a variety of platforms for various subjects. I’ve blogged about technology and clothing, education in design and even health and fitness. This is the first time I’ve blogged about Academia and to tell you the truth, it’s a bit intimidating. Previously, I’ve blogged about subjects that some consider me an expert in or areas in which I am comfortable having a conversation and being mindful about. However, blogging about subjects like theoretical frameworks, cultures of inquiry and phenomenology initially felt out of my comfort zone. As I read and learn more about academic research and learning theories, it is inevitable that I will only get better… hopefully.  As I become more knowledgable and familiar with discussing or sharing my opinions on different subject matters, I can use this space to think and discuss topics surrounding education and technology that invite informal conversation (Estes, 2012).

Blogging Simplified
http://laughingsquid.com/ (2014)

Since 2004—I would estimate—I began blogging. Not in the formal sense of writing and sharing critiques but in a simpler more casual form. I’ve used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to create open forums and discussions about prevalent design-culture topics with my peers, colleagues and students. Posting things like design trends, advances in technology and even my own personal updates were all forms of blogging. Because of social media, others like myself used social media as a blogging springboard to share our experiences with others. In the article Blogging: The remediation of academic and business communications by Aselin, K. (2011) the author notes that Oregon State University students found that creating a blog for class communications, colleagues; and publishing up-to-date research findings were favourable and well supported among staff and students. Today, my own personal portfolio website is managed on a blogging platform (WordPress) and I use it to enter posts about the design industry, tutorials and online learning resources for my students. I also use it as a form of sharing my opinions on various design related topics and personal posts about my work and life.

sharing your thoughts online can be a scary thing but that’s what blogging does. It helps you share your thoughts, good or bad, right or wrong with others in hopes of gaining views and perspectives of others.”

For now, it is obvious that I have a lot more learning to do and I look forward to progressing in my field of study. Blogging about academia has allowed me to reflect and process what I have learned and how I could apply what I’ve learned to my experiences throughout my academic career and work. Blogging can be therapeutic for me in the sense that I can express myself freely and share my perspectives with a diverse amount of people. Yes, sharing your thoughts online can be a scary thing but that’s what blogging does. It helps you share your thoughts, good or bad, right or wrong with others in hopes of gaining views and perspectives of others. Nackerud and Scaletta (2008) state that undergraduate bloggers tend to lock down their blogs from the public eye by password-protecting most of their entries.

Blogging for Learning
http://langwitches.org/ (2014)

During our LRNT 501 and 502 course, I have enjoyed reading, reflecting and sharing the blogs of my classmates and learning more about them. I can learn a lot about the ways in which they see the world, which would not be possible without blogging. Being a part of the blended cohort, I can now hear some of my classmates’ voices and tones through their blog posts, which means that their view points and experiences are coming from an honest and open place. I think we will all become comfortable with sharing our thoughts and learning experiences online with the world; at some point. If technology is the key that helps us communicate in the future, then blogging may be the door that grants us access.

References

Aselin, K. (2011). Blogging: The remediation of academic and business communications. Ann Arbor, Michigan:ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing.
Estes, H. (2012). Blogging and academic identity. Literature Compass, 9(12), 974-982. doi:10.1111/lic3.12017
Nackerud, S., & Scaletta, K. (2008). Blogging in the academy. New Directions for Student Services (124), 71-87. doi:10.1002/ss.296