Snowpocalypse II: Here We Go Again
What should have taken a half hour turned into a grueling commute that pressed my patience and confined me in the car with my mom and my sister for eight straight hours.
Snowpocalypse. Atlanta. Two inches of snow.
The logistics are still unclear, but I can only recall the taunts and smirks that I received from my friends up North as they frolicked around in their two feet of snow.
The effects of the snow that finally stuck were striking: an impromptu snow holiday for many, schools set back, cars ditched on the side of the road, everyday hills becoming a treacherous climb. Babies born on the highway and students stranded overnight in schools and buses. Continue reading
FOESO: Why We Need to Reflect
FOESO of this post right here.
In a society where everyone is encouraged to stand up for themselves and assert their opinions, many people will do just that. They will defy standards and rebel against what they think is unfair. But those who narrow-mindedly believe in such things do not acknowledge the essentiality of reflection.
There are many regrets of mine that primarily emerge from saying or doing the wrong things because what I say and do has not been thought out thoroughly. Passion is a double edged sword. Yes, we develop strong ambitions and determinations to overcome countless obstacles. Correct, when you find your passion, you never seem to tire of it.
But there’s a different form of passion that comes from getting riled up, in the heat of the moment. Moments build upon themselves and you get carried away. Before you realize it, you’ve said something completely untrue, or you’ve done something that you will not support at all the morning after.
Taking risks and saying things “before its too late” is overrated. First of all, is it ever really late? Unless it’s a strange situation where the absolutely last available train to a certain destination leaves the next morning, there’s never much of a deadline on any decision. At worst, you have a substantial portion of time before the decision must be made, so we should take our time in making that decision.
Secondly, is risk-taking a habit to promote or relegate? It might be something best to not encourage such a tendency; generally, when we state our opinions, other people are involved. The danger in blurting out whatever is floating around in your mind exists because these other people will immediately perceive you to be an unconditional supporter of your words and actions. They will hold you to what you say and do. To avoid uncomfortable confrontations and confusion and misinterpretation, it’s best to think about what you want before announcing it to others, unless they are a part of your reflection, in which case they should know that you’re just brainstorming aloud.
Reflection comes in many forms. A long car ride in the passenger seat, or the moments before you drift to sleep as you lie comfortably under the covers. It can be your savior in many situations. But it’s not just sitting idly in one position simply thinking about a situation. There’s group reflection, where you can ask other people to help you make a decision. There’s also research reflection, which is going through evidence of some sort (totally dependent on whatever you are reflecting about) to aid in coming to a conclusion.
So yes, I agree. We should fight for what we believe in. But reflection allows us to pinpoint exactly what we believe. How easily we can be swayed! A sad video of polar bears in the Arctic and people forced to flee their homes as a result of rising sea levels might convince you in ten minutes that climate change is a drastic, pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately. But while a certain video might succeed in tugging on your heart strings, there still exists much literature about why climate change might even be a myth. In deciding whether or not something ought to be done about the impending global warming crisis, thorough research reflection would be required.
To live up to the title of educated voter, we cannot simply go with our gut feeling and immediately support that cause. We need to decide what our priorities and our opinions are first. The same applies to people who have a duty to a community.
What if Abraham Lincoln had been quickly swayed after visiting a plantation and seeing slave oppression? What if he had issued the Emancipation Proclamation that very night, only to wake up the next morning in a nation that had eagerly believed him, ready to break the established norms? What if he randomly decided that African Americans were inferior, and that the abolishment of slavery was a bad idea? Okay, bad example.
But my point is that we should solidify our opinions by mulling over it before we go announcing it to everyone. Do whatever you need to do to decide, just try to avoid making split second decisions.
Now I’ll refute the idea that technology is causing a disconnect in communication.
NO, THAT’S WRONG. The Play-doh analogy? (a reference to the previously linked FOESO) Technology has actually helped our ability to communicate. The quality of communication will only increase, and it will only yield positive outcomes. This is for 5 simple reasons:
1. Globalization – Facebook is offered in more than 60 countries, Twitter in over 15, etc and etc. Your message can reach people across the world, and can reach more than one person at a time. It used to be that word got around through word of mouth, and only spread as far as within a community.
2. Convenience – Who has the time to sit down and write an actual letter, let alone stand up and go meet someone personally? It’s easier to send texts and emails, and in the most extreme of cases, call someone using a phone. It has reduced the burden we used to have, and has made communication only easier.
3. Speed – Technology is instant. It no longer takes days to mail a letter across the country; the Pony Express has evolved into Fedex and UPS. Pen pals seem to be fading into the obscurity that is our past, but we should regard it with bitter sweetness; even as we lose a dear and long-practiced tradition, we will embrace a novel method of communication that will yield new traditions.
4. Bigger and more diverse audiences – You don’t have to indicate an interest to receive a message. We have the ability to broadcast to millions of people through the news, through Youtube accounts, and through WordPress posts. Whether it be a wanderer or a dedicated follower, the hits of any given blog will be very diverse, which means a greater quantity of communication is happening nowadays.
5. Ability to remix and build off of previous ideas – Yes, there are certain laws that prohibit certain actions that might not give credit to the creator of an idea or work. But a majority of the internet is free information. The internet is a culmination of ideas floating around, waiting for the correct mind to realize its truth, and to expound on the truth through words or music or art. Through the sharing of ideas, each person is no longer alone. We find something great and add on to it and make it even greater. As long as we have the decency to give credit to your source of inspiration, no one is ripped off; sadly, not everyone works that way. But then we’d have to ask ourselves if we prioritize the growth and development of thinking that allows for such optimistic changes in our society.
Even if we are not able to communicate like we did in the past, that’s not a bad thing. We’re advancing at rates unprecedented, but in a positive way. I see no major consequences not being able to pass notes physically, because as the other FOESO explicitly states, that is merely a thing of a past. We’re beginning to move onto bigger and better things.
FOESO: Let’s Be Bold and Speak Loudly
New segment/category on the blog: From One End of the Spectrum to the Other!
This is essentially where I will argue for both sides of an issue. I believe in what I write for both sides, but don’t forget why this blog is called Never Stationary…
Here’s one side of the spectrum, the other side will be coming soon!
A common misconception is that recent developments such as Facebook and Twitter have increased our quality of life and our ability to communicate with others. Yay, instant and global! Public and permanent! However, people who believe this blatant lie fail to recognize that it can actually replace the original ways that we communicate, which prove to be more valuable than these new social networking sites.
So let’s be bold and speak loudly, like we used to. Way back when we didn’t have Facebook for picture stalking and Tumblrs for ranting invisibly, we would write letters and potentially send emails to communicate with our long-distance friends, and we’d make phone calls and physically meet up the people that fortunately live near us.
Tumblrs are for spilling out feelings without communicating to other people directly what you are feeling, and Facebook is for stalking without the other person ever knowing. We scroll through statuses and pictures that we like and don’t physically thumbs-up them. I suffer from this problem too.
On WordPress, I can tell. Thanks to the Stats page on WordPress, I know how many views this site will get, and even how many views this particular blog post will receive. I know whether the site hit comes from Facebook or WordPress “Freshly Pressed” or from links on other blogs. There are a lot of lurkers on the internet that will stumble upon random sites like mine but not leave a trace, except contribute to the amount of views I get.
I’m young, and everyone seems to have a Facebook/Instagram/Twitter account. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled past pictures or quotes or tweets that make me giggle, smile, or re-evaluate the meaning of life, but about which I have done nothing. I’m not one to physically thumbs-up things on Facebook.
But it’s not fair! People who SHOULD be recognized don’t get recognized. Just as (excuse the horrible analogy) the structure of political parties allows it so that anything that the party advocates, followers often vote that way too, on social networking sites, too many people get likes, ping-backs, and retweets of what the post simply because that is the norm.
Do you even think that picture is pretty?
Not really, but look how many likes it already got. Everyone thinks her pictures are gorgeous.
That joke that you retweeted wasn’t even funny.
I know, but I always retweet his tweets…
I find that people nowadays generally have a harder time communicating with each other than ever before, because of the expansion of communication methods.
But, our ways of communicating have expanded! Doesn’t that indicate that we should be improving the ways that we keep in touch with other?
Think of our capability to communicate as a piece of Play-doh. There’s a finite amount available for each us, and we can either choose to keep it in a form with all the material is bunched together, and condensed into one solid mass. On the other hand, we also have the option of flattening it out and smearing it thinly across a table surface. The table represents the world, and our hand symbolizes the decisions that we make about how we communicate with others. We can keep it condensed in a ball form, or flattened like a sheet of paper, and we can certainly keep it somewhere in between. Each person has a different form of Play-doh than everyone else, which demonstrates how capable we are of communicating with people through technology. Indeed, in a complicated way, if we choose to extend our relationships across state border lines and oceans, we risk sacrificing the quality of communication that we used to have when technology was so much simpler. Simply put, recent technological developments such as mobile phones and the internet are beneficial in helping us reach others that don’t live close to us, but only to a point.
We don’t take risks anymore.
This problem relates partially to our usage of technology, but of course, there are also external factors that contribute to this issue.
We still don’t take as many risks as we used to. Do we even know what it is like to ride a bike to someone’s house in the middle of the night and pound on their door? When it cracks opens, do we know how to beg for forgiveness and spout a heartfelt list of reasons of why the person is absolutely the most splendid thing in our life? So that’s never happened to me but I’m just creating an example.
Do awkward, inexperienced tweens quietly admit to each other that they have a crush on each other in person, or do they do it by text nowadays? There’s something different about texting someone “I like u. do u like me?” It lacks the genuine suspense that comes from staring a person in a face as the words slip out. The person that has to respond if they like the other person can’t run away and has to respond fairly quickly. It is much easier to interpret what someone is feeling by looking at their face, not by analyzing whether or not there were 2 y’s in their “yeah” or whether they used a period or not.
When I was in junior high, I was fortunate enough to still pass notes the old-fashioned way, through folding them up and sneakily passing them in class. I was in the last generation to be able to live that experience. Adolescents are now almost entirely dependent on their phones. Some schools even offer laptops to their students, which means that people can also communicate through Gchat, Facebook chat and other social networking instant messaging systems.
Let’s play the “phone stack game.” When everyone arrives at some sort of gathering (a dinner perhaps?) everyone is required to stack their phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to cave and check their phone has to cover the check.
This game subtly forces people to make eye contact and maintain small talk that will eventually carry over into a real conversation. There’s no distracting ourselves from checking Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr or Twitter.
Ultimately, it upsets me how everyone (myself included) seems to be increasingly dependent and obsessed with technology. Not that these new forms of communication are entirely bad, but allowing them to replace authentic methods of communication poses great dangers to our ability to socialize and maintain contact with other people. The quality of our conversations are likely to plummet, and the likelihood of social awkwardness is sure to skyrocket.
Silence is golden, yada yada yada.
But now we live in a world that is saying less. We are speaking out less. Specifically, we aren’t saying what we want to say to others. We aren’t taking risks and blurting out things that we don’t want to hold in. But we hold them in anyways. And if we can’t hold them in, we’ll filter them into blogs and journals or we’ll go on Tumblr and pretend like the other people who use this site actually understand exactly what we’re going through, and we’ll distract ourselves from the problem at hand. We’ll ignore the fact that we aren’t saying what desperately needs to be said.
Yes, if there is a pressing global social issue at hand, we will speak out. Revolutionary changes like the Civil Rights Movement and the Egyptian Revolution succeed because social networking sites and global news publications help spread the word and depict images that can provoke anger and change, but I’m referring to a problem that exists on a more individual level.
So let’s be bold, and speak loudly. Let’s take more chances and put our pride on the line.
Let’s stop stalking party photos and directly ask someone how the party went.
I know there will be backlash and initial judgment, as young people have a tendency to alienate people who try to stand out. We’re not used to such direct communication, and will probably perceive it as confrontation of sort. It’s weird to like pictures and statuses of people we rarely interact with in real life, but that just demonstrates the severity of the situation, does it not?
But if we take the time to focus our attention on someone through a letter (physical…) or an email or a phone call as opposed to a text or a chat, it no longer seems careless and thoughtless. The action of contacting someone would then demonstrate a genuine interest.