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National Un-Friend-on-Facebook Day part of discussion during Public Isolation Project Interview

Since finding out about the Social Isolation Project three days ago, I am having the students in my comm theory and media analysis courses muse on their takes of the subject (on the earlier blog post on this subject).

In addition, I have received the go-ahead to write a story about it for The Oregonian, the publication for which I regularly freelance. It was fascinating interviewing

Karla Starr

Cristin today on location, in person- I mean, through glass walls.  I saw through glass windows where Cristin sleeps and eats and works out and uses the restroom and works on her computer, all on 24/7 display.

Josh is documenting the project and Karla did the website for them. I am posting two of their photos on this post. 

Joshua Jay Elliott

It was interesting comparing how I conduct this interview  with my usual in person or telephone discussions  for stories that I write.

It was great to meet Josh and Cristin and what they are doing is quite the adventure. I had so many questions for them. It got me thinking about the importance we place on social networking and facebook and keeping in constant touch with people. But is that actually keeping in touch, updates on facebook. Sometimes it feels shallow.  

I think of the Jimmy Kimmel Un-Friend Day Nov. 17 as a way to focus on how hollow communication in the internet world has become. He says the test of true friendship comes when you post an update to your status like this: “Sa you need help moving on the weekend.  Those who show up to help, those are your true friends. Dump the rest.” And of course, comedians exagerate, but the point is well taken. Who are our real friends.

The Internet and texting is the way so many people communicate. The question — Is it over done? Is it too much? Can it replace one on one, in person, real, without-glass walls conversation? What is missing during on-line conversation compared with in person moments? Are we sharing too much of our lives.

Our reliance on all things modern and technical was illustrated during my interview with Cristin when the battery on my lap top went dead. Their friend Karla loaned me hers to skype with, but then hers went dead as well. Just the difficulty we had communicating via technology exemplified part of what Cristin and Josh are trying to illustrate.

The message, perhaps? Modern technology can only do so much.


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Posted in Adventure, Communication, Life, Writing.

3 Responses

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  1. Natalie Tidswell says

    There is an odd and unsettling feeling about deleting someone on Facebook, but I definitely see the valuable lesson that we need to acknowledge the truest definition of “friend”. I hope that the purpose in this project/experiment, will only serve as a reminder about the role of social media in each of our lives. I would like to note though that I like the ending to this article- writer and friend’s computers both died. And it is a great question-
    “Just the difficulty we had communicating via technology exemplified part of what Cristin and Josh are trying to illustrate. The message, perhaps? Modern technology can only do so much.”
    Irony always works itself in at the most opportune times.

  2. Alaina Arp says

    I agree that social media tends to create shallow relationships – especially in venues such as Facebook and Twitter, where people tend to share every mundane detail in their lives with people they may have never met face-to-face. Social media has certainly broadened communication horizons – we can instantly communicate with multiple people around the world – but it’s hard to maintain a deep relationship at 160 characters a post. I can see how excessive use of social media is isolating – there’s rarely deep interaction, and little accountability. I think that’s Cristin Norine’s and Jimmy Kimmel’s point: to get us to consider our social media communication habits and find a balance.

  3. Bethany Jackson says

    I think this is an important project that will certainly help us become more aware of what is happening in this part of our lives. We isolate, but are unaware because we are “communicating”….. very interesting. Thank you.

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