The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Technology is time consuming....

As an individual who needs to keep up with some of the recent fads in technology I now find myself both on and These site can really be somewhat addictive though I use that term loosely. I have been more of a Facebook user because that is what most of my friends use as we are mostly grad students and faculty with access to .edu e-mail. But now I am also tinkering with MySpace and I find that I also know people who use that...a bit to my surprise. I must be on something of a cusp of the age of person who uses these social networking sites. There are a few of my friends there, but many, actually a majority who do not use these sites.

What is the reason for this? People my age are more used to making our own webpages and therefore do not depend on these sites. Or could it be that people my age do not want to use them because of the bad press that these sites are getting and are worried about what others will perceive if they do use these sites. Personally, after my experience and the newer safety controls that are available, I find these sites to be fun. MySpace allows for quite a bit of creativity with users being able to include other backgrounds and other items of interest to them. It is also a way for people like me who are not big phone users to keep in touch with people that are not near me.

However, though I see some benefits for sites like these, there are downsides. Primarily for me it is the fact that I can devote nearly 3 hours a night just tinkering with stuff, looking at new music and backgrounds, uploading new photos, checking out my friend's sites, searching for people that I know, and generally wasting time. The other downsides are well advertised. These include a degree of openess by users that may get people into trouble, and the ability for strangers to view people's profiles. However, I do not think that sites such as these need to be eliminated. They have their place and if users can learn to use these sites without getting themselves into trouble they can be very beneficial in keeping people connected and networking with others.

So in sum, I like Facebook and MySpace. Right now MySpace is more fun because I can do a bit more with it, but then I have more friends on Facebook (about 9 compared to my lowly 1 on MySpace). Just give me time. I am not one to try to compete to have the most friends, I really only want people I know in real life to also be my virtual friends.


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