Men’s Club: Connecting in the Digital Age

The Men’s Club started 2017 with our Club Secretary, Jerry Allen, investigating Carl Sagan’s famous prediction that there are more suns in the Universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. After a mind-boggling attempt to grasp the size of the universe, we concluded that the numbers of each are large, beyond comprehension (possibly a number followed by 23 zeros), but the continuing discoveries of many new clusters of galaxies would support Dr. Sagan’s claim. Why spend time on such esoteric mental exercises? We found that pushing our understanding of the magnificent world in which we live is fulfillment in itself. Some describe the fulfillment as a beautiful sunset, others as a prayer that simply says “ WOW.”
On Jan 17, 2017, Daniel Midson-Short, our guest speaker, led us on an exciting and informative tour of “Connecting in the Digital Age.” Daniel observed that most of society, particularly those who attended grade school after 1985, spends much of their waking hours immersed in the world of digital social applications. He attributes this phenomenon to three characteristics of the connected generation: “Ambient Awareness”—a strong need to be aware of what is happening all the time; “Continual Partial Attention”—being constantly overloaded with information; and “Distraction Looping”- defined as always seeking a new thing. Looking at this societal revolution in a positive sense, he suggests that using social media can be useful—in moderation, and he recommends that we novices view it as a “gateway to the younger generation.” A first step is to pick one or two of the following communication platforms to learn about our children and grandchildren’s methods of communication.
Facebook is the most well-known social platform because its users extend across several age generations, possibly accounting for it being “not cool” anymore among the younger crowd. Many like its “news feed” format that provides world news as well as news of friends and family.
YouTube is a video and music platform that can accumulate money (at the rate of $1 per 1000 views) to those who post videos; however, it is widely known for creating Internet celebrities.
Twitter is described by Daniel as an online “cocktail party,” the oldest and possibly most confusing platform, having its own language (full of special characters) that is mostly used for news and publicity.
Linkedin is an “online business Rolodex” that has largely replaced traditional resumes. It focuses on business and employment opportunities.
Instagram is described as a “living art gallery,” largely curated, cropping and showing the photos in the best possible way. Widely used to advertise to market brands and individuals in favorable light, it provides a way to communicate mostly using photos.
Snapchat is the “coolest” for the younger users since it provides a communication platform for photos and video messaging that disappears in 24 hours. (A caution is needed here: NOTHING really disappears on the Internet!) Perhaps politicians should use Snapchat instead of Twitter!
—Jerry Allen

Leave a Reply