During the 2016 presidential campaign and elections, the social network Twitter was highly popular and visible. Both candidates utilized this platform to connect with the public to update, deliver information, and make comments about each other. Initially, I thought, “Twitter? So what.” But according to Leetaru (2013), “Twitter has become a pulse of a planet-wide news organism, hosting dialogue about everything from the Arab Spring to celebrity deaths.” (Stone, 2012). Over the past few years, governments have utilized Twitter, sort of like an international 911 to attain real time correct information regarding emergencies and other phenomena that affect people in large geographic areas. Continue reading “Tweet, Tweet Technology”
“In the words of Wyndham Lewis, “The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future, because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present” (McLuhan, p. 77). McLuhan was ‘the artist’, because of his ability to “pick up the message of technological and cultural progress” ahead of its time and before it’s transformational impact occurs in society. Continue reading “Media Technology: Better, Stronger, Faster…and Beyond”
My readings on SCT and Self-efficacy have allowed me to examine and gain understanding of my role regarding my career path through introspection. I’ve worked for the same organization for over the past 20 years, and at different points in time, I’ve contemplated a career change. However, I struggled with the idea and was very comfortable. Throughout my time with my employer, I believed that I was fortunate to have opportunities for ‘promotions’, and I felt highly respected by my colleagues and superiors. The organization recognized my potential and was a persuasive agent that made me feel valued through various forms of praise and recognition.
I was young and made mistakes. On one occasion, while working in a highly respected county school, administrators approached me with an offer to join the faculty. I enrolled in a teacher certification program and was doing very well. Although I never imagined being a teacher or believed I had the ability, I had the support of administrators and faculty, so I was very confident in my ability to earn my certification and teach. Once I informed my organization of this opportunity, I was immediately ‘promoted’ and relocated to a city program. I did not have the maturity or experience to selfishly make decisions based solely on my future. My loyalty to my company was unrealistic and naive.
It was difficult to manage school along with the new barriers (i.e., learning new responsibilities, distance and transportation, and the influence of new relationships and experiences). I eventually chose to leave my certification program to focus working my way up through my organization while doing a very meaningful and rewarding job. Promotions came at a steady rate, but in retrospect, they were often lateral moves. I had one peer who encouraged me to return to school constantly, but my fear of accumulating more student loan debt was more powerful in influencing my decision.
As I look back, I notice that I had feelings of low self-efficacy. Anytime that I attempted to set a goal for myself, I was successful at talking myself out of trying (i.e., “I can’t go to school, because I’m already up to my neck in student loans,” “I’m making more money than most people in my position,” or “I’m next in line once he retires next year.”). My organization, as it should have been, was more invested in its future than mine. Overall, the idea to advance was there, and I felt that I had the ability to perform at a higher level or attain an advanced degree, but the desire and determination were not there. I neglected to initiate a plan until a couple of summers ago.
A confluence of influences led me to the path of returning to school. Marriage and becoming a parent were major motivators that influenced my decision to apply for several administrative positions over a two-year period. I thought my work-experience would make me an ideal candidate for each job that I applied for, but the bottom-line was that employers wanted a person with at least a Master’s Degree. Also, a very close friend and former colleague had recently earned his Master’s Degree and immediately attained the type of position I was seeking within a respected organization just as I had attempted to do with my Bachelor’s degree. He informed me that his employers were ecstatic that he had a Master’s degree, because all other applicants had Bachelor degrees.
I was temporarily discouraged, but last summer, with more urging from my wife and our families, I returned to school with the goal of earning an advanced degree before applying for anymore new positions. Although my wife continues to urge me to apply for other jobs, I set my goal of earning this degree first, and I will not stray off course. Two years ago, I would have possibly created unneeded stress by attempting to please her. However, my thinking has been more about the ‘long-haul’ and persevering.
Focusing on my education has sparked a new confidence and desire to learn and advance in life. Thus far, school and interaction with classmates (older and younger) have confirmed my belief that technology is expanding the world at a very fast rate, so to advance, I must be willing to accept and flow with these changes. Josh Harris’ experiment, as stated several times during the documentary, was well ahead of its time. His belief that the internet would majorly influence daily life is a reality. Bandura’s work on SCT and self-efficacy has indicated that the internet continues to develop from being a general influence on society by becoming more individualized and focused on interaction and specific interests rather than just being informative.
The ‘15 minutes of fame’ idea was debunked, and the experiment demonstrated how humans are influenced by the presence of a camera and fame over extended periods. Once the camera was on, individuals in the ‘experiment’ behaved in ways that most of us never would have publicly. Individuals were willing to throw away every bit of privacy, autonomy, and dignity for cameras. The extension of instant video-streaming and interactive internet was and continues to be as addictive as any drug. Recent incidents such as the Facebook killer are evidence how such a powerful tool can be used and misused. Overall, the experiment demonstrates the power of the internet on influencing daily life.