Communications Paper


FYI, I am 30 years old with two sons,15 and 8. The 8 year old is Autistic. I work 40 hrs a week at a community college in Berkeley California. I text, email and use my phone, and computer everyday! “except for 36 hrs, you can imagine how difficult this is for me personally and business wise to remove myself from technology”.

Format: 2 pages, Times New Roman, 12-pt font, 1-inch margins (all sides), double-spaced, Word .doc or .docx file only! Make sure it is 2 complete pages!

Step One: Set aside roughly 36 hours where you will completely disconnect from any and all forms of virtual communities and social media. Please plan ahead so that you are able to do this without complication. Virtual communities and social media includes all of the following: text messages, messenger apps, Facebook, Twitter, other social networking sites, the Internet, online apps, online games, email, forums, podcasts, live streaming, etc. Take notes on this experience, as necessary.

Tip: A simple way to do this might be to turn off the Wifi capability on your smart devices and laptops.

Step Two: Write a 2-page reflection paper on this experience. In the paper: (1)discuss some of your thoughts and feelings throughout the 36 hours. Then, after some reflection, (2)focus on one positive or one negative effect that you experienced as a result of disconnecting from virtual communities/social media. (3)Relate this to one of the assigned readings from the first four and a half weeks of class (readings up until September 21).

YOU WILL BE GRADED ON THE LEVEL OF SPECIFIC DETAIL YOU PROVIDE AND THE LEVEL OF INSIGHT, SELF-REFLECTION, AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTION TO THE READINGS. Of course, you only have 2 pages, so really think before you start writing and consider choosing just ONE specific aspect of the reading to focus your connection on.


A personal reflection on the effects of technology on intimacy

            Recent research shows that over a billion people interact on social media with half of this number of constituting daily users (Kross et al., 2013). Facebook takes the greatest share of this population, making it the largest social media network (Turkle, 2012). The rapid growth and uptake of technological advancement especially the social media networks have since threatened to replace normal human interactions. With the ever-increasing number of daily users, social media, and technology, in general, is gradually substituting real life as we know it (Turkle, 2012). Technology creates a virtual world that addresses human shortcomings. In the virtual world, one is able to create a world of their desire; they are rich, happy, and stable which are the basic human desires. This makes technology addictive as it opens an avenue for us to escape from our realities. This paper is a personal reflection on how technology and social media affect human interactions and intimate relationships after a 36-hour experiment on myself without any of my technological gadgets like cellphones, computers, or the internet. 


            First and foremost, the decision to carry out this experiment was not an easy one. The experiment meant literally putting my life on hold as I depend so much on my online connections and technology in general for a smooth flow of my life. Social media platforms technologies are the main basis of getting all the social information I need; it is through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so many more that I get an efficient, effective and low cost way of keeping up with the social activities of my friends, peers and persons whose lives a consider of interest. I therefore, impulsively need to be constantly connected. In a nutshell, I was scared of what I may miss out on during this 36-hour period. Therefore, my first reflection was that technological advancements and reliance on their engagement lead to an overall fear of ‘being left out’ (Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, & Gladwell, 2013). Przybylski et al. (2013) add that although these online connections are essential in this day and age, their use leads to a society that attaches more value to the connection gadgets and need to stay in connection over basic values of face-to-face or physical interactions with one another.

            Secondly, in the digital age, it is evident that the human is becoming increasingly lonely even though are afraid of the intimacy and commitments that are accompanied by the normal face-to-face interactions. Technology has the allure of creating mechanical relationships that will offer companionship without commitments of friendships (Turkle, 2012). I have numerous friends on all social media platforms who I have never met in person. Therefore in the 36 hours I was locked out of the virtual world, I came to discover that I have a have been living a very quiet and solitude life. For instance, in my social networks, I am friends with all my classmates, we are in most chat groups together sharing ideas on lessons and even get guidance and assistance during troubling times in life in general.

The online life is generally busy and full of virtual activity. However, physically, we have no real relationships with any of these classmates. That is, we rarely connect in any other way outside the chat groups or the social network. Majority of my classmates are strangers in person and we have so little in common, making normal face-to-face conversations very challenging and too demanding to maintain. I have to evaluate what to say, try to figure out their likes and dislikes and find a common ground for the conversation to proceed seamlessly. On the other hand, for those classmates with whom I already have some form of physical friendship, I discovered that there is less intimacy involved in our conversations, and this has led to an overall feeling of loneliness.

My observation is that sharing my problems on line and getting reactions and comments from my peers and friends makes me feel good about myself and the situation I am in. The virtual life I portray on social media platforms also contributes immensely to my attitude and gives me a sense of satisfaction in my current situation in life while encouraging me to aim for a better one. As observed by Kross et al. (2013), social media use is positive in the sense that the virtual relationships created therein help the person feel good about themselves as well as feeling satisfied with their lives albeit temporarily. People are more inclined to the use of social media when they are facing some specific challenge or are sad (Kross et al., 2013). Such people often conclude that the social media interactions – just like any other solitary activity like reading, exercising and so on – make them feel better over time and eventually lead to an improvement in their overall well-being (Kross et al., 2013). However, overreliance on the virtual social media interactions leads to an illusion of friendship which eventually erodes the physical interactions and satisfaction derived from face-to- face contact. This, according to Turkle (2012), results in a robotic life lacking in intimacy and sensitivity as well as sincerity.

            In summary, my 36-hour reflection revealed that technology and social media are essential in the sense that they have greatly eased the process of information sharing and social interactions in the world. However, over dependence on this virtual environment will eventually plunge me into a more solitary society devoid of sensitivity, intimacy, and sincerity. 


Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D. S., Lin, N., & Ybarra, O. (2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PloS One8(8), e69841.

Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior29(4), 1841-1848.

Turkle, S. (2012). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. London: Basic Books.

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