When reading my students’ discussion responses to “how social media brings us together and tears us apart,” I began to think about how we now must live in a cyber hybrid culture.
By cyber hybrid culture, I mean that in our culture we must live life in our face-to-face world while living on social media, email, and online courses. I’ve noticed inconsistency in our presentation of self between the real world and our cyber world.
Similar to my teaching and instructional design experience in creating a hybrid/blended courses where online time supplements face-to-face time, we attempt to create the right balance between the face-to-face element and the online element. Inexperienced hybrid/blended instructors simply try to squeeze their face-to-face course into a smaller amount of time with the same content online. In this case, students feel that the online content is pointless busy work.
Instructors must learn to provide adequate content in the online portion and utilize the face-to-face time in a new and unique way to deliver a dynamic learning experience with knowledge of the content provided online.
We see this with exposure to social media, many times I see a classmate from college or high school, and the conversation is awkward and short. We already know all about all the important news, babies, jobs, education, and other big life events. With that, there is simply nothing new to talk about and we lose out on a key part of being a social being.
When done correctly, social media provides information which triggers discussion, talk radio hosts poke and prod their audience for topics and ministers can gain insight about their congregation. At a quick glance of my smart watch, I learn a morsel of news and can tie it to face-to-face class discussion.
But most of the time, social media creates awkward social interaction, by removing an individual from the room as everyone is interacting with people who are not in the room. We replace face-to-face conversation at the dinner table with people poking at their phone, for the same Facebook content that they’ve already read a number of times already.
As a society we are still in our infancy in blending our face-to-face and online worlds. We must find ways to better utilize the online world without compromising our face-to-face real time interactions.
Literature review coming soon.