Love Online

Merriam-Webster defines relationships as “an emotional attachment between individuals” . Let me ask you a question, dear reader, does that definition say anything about the locations of the individuals? No? Well, lets try another one, shall we? The Oxford Dictionary defines this phenomenon as “The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Again, no mention of location or anything of the like. Now, at this point you may be asking yourself: “Why is this girl going off about the various definitions of the term relationship? I think I know what the definition of one simple word is.” Well, dear reader, there is one reason I am bringing this up, and that reason is this: relationships online.

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Let me back up for a second. When you think of relationships, what do you think of? And I’m not just talking about the types of relationships that involve dating, I’m talking about any and all relationships. Friendships, dating, siblings even, all of those categories have their own relationship aspects. When I think of these, I think of people being in the same place interacting with each other, keywords on IN THE SAME PLACE! In today’s culture thought, people being in the same place sometimes isn’t possible, which is where online relationships come into play.

There is one relationship that I think relies on online interaction more than others, and that relationship is Long Distance Relationships, or as I like to call them: LDR. Now, this is a relationship that I actually partake in; my boyfriend Quinn goes to law school in Chicago while I’m currently finishing up my college career in the great state of Nebraska. That makes the distance between us 470 miles, making us being in the same location at any given time not exactly a likely occurrence. Due to this, online aspects (such as Facebook, Skype, and iMessage) are kind of the only way our relationship works nine out of twelve months of the year.

Speaking from experience, there are some positives and negatives when it comes to online aspects of relationships. In terms of the positives, one of them is that it allows you to feel like you are gaining insight into their day to day life through such online sights as Twitter and Facebook. Another is that it gives you another ability to communicate with them outside of simply texting or talking on the phone (specifically referring to Skype here).

Now, like in most situations, where there are positives, there most likely have to be negatives, and online relationships are no exception. The main issue with online interaction, in my opinion, is how easy it is for people to misconstrue what you mean. Let me explain what I mean: Take the simple text “K”. Now, this example is thrown around a lot, seeing as it can mean a variety of things, as illustrated by this picture.

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This example may be more humorous than anything else, but the point still stands. Over text and other forms of online communication, what you say and what you actually mean can be interpreted wrong since the person you are talking to can’t see your face or hear the tone of your voice when you speak. This could potentially pose a problem when it comes to interpreting what the message itself means.

Overall, I think that online aspects are a good way of keeping a relationship going if distance plays a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you rely on. If online aspects are the only thing you use to keep your relationship going, you’re probably going to run into problems more often than not.

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Living In The Moment…Maybe?

You feel like something is missing, but for the life of you you can not put your finger on exactly what it is. Mental checklist time: Purse? Check. Wallet? Check. Phone? A cold terror overcomes you as the sudden realization hits. The bottom of your stomach drops out from under you as your mouth goes dry. That’s it. The one thing you felt was missing  from the second you walked out of the house this morning. You. Forgot. Your. Phone!

Chances are, you’ve experienced this feeling at least once in your life (If not, I officially hate you for not going through this terror I know only too well). But the question this feeling poses to me is this: Why does the lack of our phone, which is our constant access to social media and the like, terrify us in such a way? Why does it feel like the Earth has stopped rotating just because that tiny piece of plastic is no longer within your reach? Simple: It’s all we know.

Let’s start with this: The majority of people who seem to be on their phones 24/7 are those who fall into Generation Y and Generation Z (1980-1994, and 1995-present respectively), but mostly the latter of the two. Journalists state the reason for this generation (my generation) being ‘obsessed’ with their phones, is because it’s all we’ve known, which I have to say is basically true. For example, the first flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC, came out in early 1996. Now, I don’t know about you reader, but when I think of early models of cell phones, I immediately picture the flip phone, slowly followed by the initial Iphone, which was realized in June of 2007. Internet on a phone, a concept we see as universal today, was released in 2002, when the oldest of Generation Z was 6.

Now, seeing as this generation has basically grown up with the concept of cell phones and the internet being paired, it’s only natural that we (and yes I use ‘we’ as the collective because I am guilty of this too) use our phones as a clutch of sorts, having them on us so much that older generations see it as obsessive (Case in point). In some ways I agree with them; some members of my generation are on their phones all the time! They even go on dates and they can’t look up from their phones, when, in order to enjoy live, they just need to look up. Am I guilty of being on my phone in class? Absolutely, I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise. Am I guilty of being on my phone when I’m hanging out with friends/my boyfriend? Incredibly guilty, but I’m still not on the phone 24/7. I know when to put it away and enjoy the situation I find myself in, knowing not to attempt to capture every second for Snapchat or anything of the like, not doing random things “for the Vine.” So the only thing I ask for you to take away from this entry, dear reader, is just the you attempt to live in the moment and not take the people around you and the situations you find yourself in for granted. Because, while you think your Snapchat and Instagram posts will be there forever, the people in your life and the situations you can’t get back, won’t.

In The Beginning…

Since this is my first blog post, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume not a lot of you know me, so let me start off with a brief introduction. My name’s Rowan and I am a 20 year old Journalism major at Creighton University. I, like most of my generation it seems, have my phone attached to my hip, which I am on CONSTANTLY. Seriously, between texting, social media, and other games, I am on my phone almost 24/7, which is both a good thing and bad in some ways. Obviously I don’t use my phone while I drive (I’m not stupid), but most other times, if I’m bored I unconsciously reach for my phone, even in class! I’m also on my laptop much of the time, either surfing various shopping sites or watching the latest viral video someone sent me or was talking about in class. I feel like most people I know are like that, they are both attached to their phones and to their laptops, having access to news and entertainment literally at the push of a button. These people are completely connected to the social online world without actually being connected to anything else around them, they are “Super Connected”.

In terms of who I am when it comes to technology, and how I get my news, I tend to spend much of my free time on the Internet. Between the various forms of social media I use (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr…you get the idea), I tend to see the major news stories across most of my “feeds” through the people I’m friends with or follow.

Another way I get my news is through a podcast called Millennial. Through this podcast, which if you don’t know is “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet”, a group of 20-somethings go through the week’s biggest news, all while adding their own comical take on things. In my opinion, it is MSNBC meets Comedy Central, which is a great way for me to learn the major news of the week while not being bored out of my mind by listening to Keith Olbermann or Wolf Blitzer for about an hour (the length of the average episode of Millennial).

Now, I am the first to admit, I have a obsession with YouTube. My roommates would go so far as to call it unhealthy seeing as it is the first link under my “Most Visited” tab on my laptop and the “Most Visited” app on my phone. Between the various comedy people I watch, the trailers I search to reminisce about my earlier years, or the music videos I watch (or more frequently dance to), there isn’t very much in the way of news. But, there are two sources on Youtube in particular that give me the most news. Those two are John Oliver and Philip DeFranco.

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These shows, much like Millennial, are weekly and daily (respectively) YouTube shows (John Oliver is also showed on HBO once a week) that combine comedy and the latest news story. These shows are super easy to watch in my option and, even though I find myself laughing through most of it, I actually find myself taking something out of them each time I watch. I like to call these shows “Comic News”

So, thats about it. That, in a nutshell, is a bit about me and how I get my news. Granted I am not a perfect example of the stereotypical college student in today’s world, but I feel like the ways I get my news are easy ways for others, especially those who don’t like to sit down and read a paper everyday or watch super boring news anchors to get their perception of events. They combine humor and information, which is just how I like my news.