The Life of Jake Flaskamp

Through Technology

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My Phone

Every morning, I do the exact same thing upon waking up - I check my phone. Some mornings, I wake up to just a single text message, or a single interaction on Twitter. Other mornings, however, there is far more activity. Between Twitter, Instagram, text messages, phone calls, etc., there can be quite a bit of activity to catch up on. While waking up to a phone full of notifications is usually more exciting than a phone with nothing, it can create a more hectic start to a morning. Imagine waking up to numerous missed calls from somebody; your initial reaction isn’t to just blow it off. Your initial reaction is usually a more frantic or worried tone. In rare events like this, technology is already quickly impacting your day very dramatically.

While eating breakfast or sipping on my morning coffee, I enjoy frequenting news websites and sports scores/stories. A lot can happen overnight, especially in the sports world, so I use my early morning downtime to relax and catch up on what’s been happening. I find myself typically on ESPN, Yahoo! News, and news aggregator websites that involve both US news and World News. I am very much into sports, as far as the NBA and NFL are concerned, so I keep up to date on news and scores from both leagues. As far as US/world news goes, I like to think of myself as fairly informed on what is going on around me.

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Another way of keeping up to date with what’s going on in the world is Twitter. Utilizing the usage of keywords and hashtags, I can try to keep up with ongoing events that happen to peak my interest. I admit that this isn’t my primary purpose, but I have done it and still do it if a certain event is significant enough to me. My primary purpose for Twitter is entertainment as well as interaction, and to be honest, I use Twitter a lot throughout the day. Collectively, I probably spend upward of an hour or more on Twitter itself each day. My Twitter profile is public, so I try to be relatively cautious of what I put out there. During Mrs. Young’s Digital DNA presentation, she showed just how much information can be obtained about me just from me using Twitter alone. However, without using any third-party apps/websites, plenty of information can be obtained from me because of how much I allow to be put out there. My location (Avon, Indiana), my plans for the day, and sometimes even where I am going to be are easily accessible. Maybe, in the future, I will change my profile to private. Until that day, I plan on keeping my Twitter public and using it for as much fun as I can.

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My last application that I use for news is Reddit. Reddit is an aggregator website in which users can submit whatever they choose to, and other users vote submissions up or down. While the website is good for keeping up on local and global news, it is good for really whatever I want it to be good for. I use it for news articles, sports, apple related information, and many entertainment purposes. I am on Twitter for an hour a day, but I use Reddit in a similar fashion. I get on it a ton throughout the day, but I usually don’t spend any longer than ten minutes each visit. Collectively, I use Reddit for about an hour a day, if not more. I tend to not post so much on this website, and I am very cautious about what I post. I have seen instances of people obtaining personal information about another person and posting it. I have seen cases where somebody’s life had become practically ruined due to what they posted on Reddit. In the article “The Flip Side of Internet Fame,” Jessica Bennett mentions just how impossible it truly is to get rid of information once it is posted on the internet. I am usually fairly conservative of what I post. However, since I rarely post anything anyway, I can enjoy the website/app to its fullest by simply reading and laughing at its content.

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Instagram and Snapchat

Another form of social media that I find myself using throughout the day is Instagram. I don’t post very often, but when I do, I find there to be some strange satisfactory feeling when people like your pictures. I think the same can be said toward liking a Facebook status or favoriting/retweeting a Twitter tweet, but I find Instagram’s “liking” a picture to be the best “feeling.” Perhaps it has to do with not posting as much, so when I do, the appreciation from others is a better overall experience. While I only really post pictures 2 to 4 times a week, I use the application itself quite often throughout the day. I like to see what my friends, or what the “celebrities” of Instagram, post. It is a quick form of entertainment, as only occasionally is there something to read or something that I care to read. Also, since most users don’t post numerous pictures a day as they would tweets on twitter or statuses on Facebook, there isn’t always a ton of content. Because of this, I find Instagram to be best used if I only visit it a few times a day. Some days, I can even scroll through all of the pictures that have been posted. This is usually my “goal” whenever I use Instagram – to catch up to the picture I last saw on my last visit to the application.

Snapchat is another photo based application that I use almost daily. It is pretty much a hybrid of Instagram and text messaging, as you send specific pictures of something to other people. Some days I can spend plenty of time sending stupid pictures to my friends, and other days I don’t open the application at all. This application can sometimes cause me to become slightly upset at somebody, though, which is an obvious example of technology negatively affecting my life. When you send a snapchat to somebody, it shows you when that person opens up said snapchat. If they don’t reply, it feels like they are ignoring you. In the article “Is the Web Driving us Mad?” the idea of technology impacting anxiety is mentioned numerous times. While apps like snapchat (eg. apps that allow users to see when someone has read a message) may impact anxiety levels in users, social apps are mostly positive and friendly. Which is good, considering most users use technology for experiences like that – fun and interactivity.

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Messaging and Calling

Speaking of interactivity, what phone is complete without basic phone features – text messaging and calling? Like most teenagers, I don’t call people very often. My primary means of communication are text messages, but I will call if it is something urgent or simply easier to complete over a phone call. A fairly recent example of this was when I needed to schedule homebound teaching with a calculus teacher. It wasn’t necessarily urgent, but scheduling times and checking availability was much simpler over a phone call. I only talk on the phone for probably about an hour a week, because I find it easier and more convenient to text. I do not feel inclined to respond to a text message immediately like I would in a phone call. Texting has many purposes for me: casual conversations, making plans, catching up with somebody, asking a quick question... the list goes on and on. I spend a lot of time either texting or checking for texts, so much so that I couldn't even come up with an estimate of how much time I spend in the Message app on my phone.

While I may be on the Message app a ton throughout the day, I am listening to music far more often. Whenever I do simple tasks, I am listening to music. When I am doing things like getting ready for the day, completing chores, doing homework, etc., you can almost always find me with a pair of headphones in my ear. Recently, I bought a device for my car that allows me to play my music through the car’s stereo, increasing how often I use my phone for music. While my own music is good and I do enjoy it, I like to explore new music. Internet radio is where I spend most of my “music-listening” time, listening through Pandora and Spotify. Both of these require a connection to either internet or cellular data, so using either of them require me to be connected. Music is a large part of my day, as it is one of a few that allow me to sit down and just relax.

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Relaxing is a thing I don’t get to do often, so when I do, I try to enjoy it as much as I can. I am a 17 year old teenage boy, so naturally, I enjoy playing video games. I don’t play too often, maybe about 1-3 hours a week. So when I am available to sit down and play, I try to enjoy it. There are only a few games I play: NBA games, NFL games, GTA, and Call of Duty. All of these are available to play alone, however, they are much more fun to play when you are playing with a friend or online against anybody in the world. My games that I play aren’t limited to my PS3, though. I have a few iPhone games as well, some of which require internet. A lot of my iPhone games are offline, but games like Words with Friends and Draw with Friends are best played while online against a friend (shocker!). While I do enjoy playing games, I don’t do it very often. However, if an opportunity arises to just sit down and play some games, I certainly will.

The final form of relaxation and entertainment that I garner through technology would be video services. Websites/applications like Netflix, YouTube, Vine, etc., provide me with quick entertainment if I choose to only watch second-long or minute-long videos. Quick entertainment that is visual is always preferred to me especially when on-the-go or in a rush. However, YouTube also has longer videos that can range from five minutes long to fifteen minutes long (and even to far, far longer lengths). Usually, a random – and sometimes long – video found on YouTube won’t quite hit the spot for me, so I venture to Netflix. I have tons of shows and movies to watch on Netflix, so there is never a shortage of content for me. On nights that I am not falling asleep to music, I usually watch a TV show or movie on Netflix.

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My Laptop

Despite the many uses for my phone, sometimes, my laptop is simply a better solution to what I am wanting to do. Whenever I use email, I prefer to use my laptop because typing on it is far easier than typing on my phone would be. Also, if I shop online, I tend to do it on my laptop. I find it easier to shop on a laptop than on a small phone screen, and I can print receipts easier if I wish to do that. Printing in general is easier on my laptop, as is any school work. In this instance, technology is quite clearly helping me out. Without my laptop, I would be almost totally unable to do a majority of Physics, Government, and even English work. Also, many websites are still not mobile-friendly, so sometimes using my laptop is the only option for certain things. Most of my digital day is spent using my phone, but sometimes, my laptop is the only way to connect.

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My Digital Presence

Clearly, I am using technology in one way or another for most of my day. I would even venture to say that I am connected more often than I am not! Some may think that being online so often can have negative impacts on one's life, but I strongly disagree. With technology, I am able to talk with my friends quickly and on the go, I am able to see what is going on in the world around me, and I am also able to be easily entertained. I only use technology in my downtime, so it isn't like I am losing actual social interaction. If there was one thing I would like to change, it would be how much I use and "depend" on social networking sites. While I only use a couple, I still find myself trying to keep connected to them constantly. It may be true that if I weren't so in-touch with technology, I would feel more inclined to go out and do better things with my life. However, I am totally content with my current life, and with that, how much I use technology. Technology has vastly improved the quality of my life, I believe. Because of this, I am 100% fine if it "dominates" my life. It allows me to keep in touch with friends, be easily entertained, make plans quickly, stay informed on news, and much more.