Media brings us together, yet isolates us at the same time

Media permeates your lives.  Many of you can’t live without your music.  Some of you have developed friendships playing video games.  You may have met the love of your life via the Internet.  Others can cite television shows or movies that have changed their outlook on life.

Media does bring us together.  Many of us remember where we watched HBO’s Game of Thrones finale in May 2019.  Over 13 million of us watched it live.  Over 19 million watched if you count streaming and replays.

The Big Bang Theory also had its finale in May 2019.  Variety says 18 million of us gathered around the television set to watch.

Media brought us together.  As does the Super Bowl each year.

Many of you were too young to remember 9-11 with much detail.  But you may remember the feeling generated by the hours of television coverage. Media brought a nation together.

CWU Terri Technology changed how we communicate with each other

Here’s a picture of me (a hundred years ago) sitting in front of Anderson Hall with my best buddy, Larry.  He’s the guy with the hairy leg and a beer in his hand.

When I moved to Ellensburg to attend Central there was no Internet.  No cell phones. No texting. No Facebook.  The phone company considered calls from Ellensburg to Granger as long-distance, which cost more than a local call.  So phone calls home were limited to Sunday evenings when the phone company lowered rates.  The written word kept me connected to my brothers and sisters.  They wrote letters to me and I wrote letters to them; letters I happened to save all these years.  Those letters connected me to my family.

When my son moved away to attend law school, I could call his cell or send him a text.  We would use Facetime to talk with each other.  I knew what he was up to based on his Facebook posts.   I honestly I didn’t miss him that much because I had so many media options that helped keep us together.

But media also isolates us.  At the end of each of my face-to-face classes I say, “Love ya all. Now get the hell out of my classroom.”  Instead of walking out of the classroom talking to fellow students, the majority of you plug in your music and don’t interact with anyone until you get to your next class.  When we do reach out into the world, it’s often in front of our computers while we surf the Internet, check our Facebook posts or Twitter feed. (I’m as guilty of doing it as you are.)

Your generation rarely gathers at the library to study because you can access pretty much all that information through your smart phone.  Some of my best college memories centered around studying in groups or checking out guys in the library while I studied.

And music (physically) brought my generation together.

We would all sit in someone’s college living room listening to a scratchy vinyl LPs of Frampton Comes Alive! or Boston’s More than a Feeling blaring out of the     stereo speakers.

How does your generation listen to music?  Generally, alone with your ear phones plugged in.

I’m NOT suggesting we go back in history, but I am keenly aware of how all this media access is a two-headed monster.  The media brings us closer together while, at the same time, isolating us from face-to-face human interaction.


You’ve grown up with this high level of media exposure.  How do you balance your use of media with actual (not virtual) human interaction?  Post your answers to the Blog#2: Isolation assignment.

While I do love your comments to this blog, if you want points for this assignment post your answers to the correct assignment on Canvas.

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