Apr 26th, 2010
As I read the blog prompt for this week, I was sitting in Mac’s Cafe. Immediately the words “information technologies” prompted me to think of the two televisions mounted at either end of the cafe. To be honest, I usually spend some portion of my lunch period tuned into one of the two television. Many news reports have triggered conversations amongst me and my friends. And while waiting for friends to arrive for lunch, I like to watch a few news segments in order to feel somewhat attuned to what’s happening in the world outside of our little Ithaca “bubble.”
On the contrary, there are plenty of days that also go by where I am completely oblivious to the large flat screen televisions playing the news; and I have absolutely become jaded to the multiple television in the Mann Library lobby – despite their informative purpose. Typically my news and information searches occur on my laptop or even on my blackberry browser. Because I’m a student and always on the go, I feel like my television consumption is incredibly lower here on campus than it is back home in Virginia. Because of our student/academic environment, and the sort of “bubble” created by living in upstate new york, my information sources are drastically altered to portable sources.
On average, most students have laptops and internet capable phones that they take around with them almost every day. While these technologies are outlets to credible news sources, students don’t always take full advantage of their capabilities.
Because I am typically on the go, I feel as I refer to news sources in short snippets of time – the five minutes before class starts while the professor is putting up the slides, waiting at a bus stop, etc. So, in contrast to my approximately once a day newspaper/news show consumption, I find myself checking the news more frequently for fewer minutes at a time. Potentially enabling me to have a more up-to-date perspective on global and national news events.
For this blog, I went to Mann Library to observe the intersection of physical space and information technologies. Because of its nature as a library, Mann is an incredibly information technology rich space. The open layout of the first floor contains a large computer lab, rows and rows of desktops, several printers, as well as hard copy magazines on shelves. Besides the large area of floorspace devoted to computers, many of the students at desks are also on laptops/netbooks. The other floors of the library seem to also have a heavy percentage of students on computers, and instead of computer labs, large quantities of traditional print media. The open architectural design of Mann allows for students to see other students around them and easily spot computer stations.
While walking around the library observing the technology rich areas of Mann, I noticed a surprising number of students on facebook. Students both on their personal laptops and on desktops in the computer lab were seen writing on friends’ walls, reading their newsfeed, and flipping through pictures. I felt surprisingly awkward when I glanced around and spotted someone on facebook because I could easily see their facebook activities with little to no privacy. This provided an intersection of new media and public space. Because computer screens (even netbook screens) are relatively large, a passerby can easily see what you’re doing on your computer. I felt awkward because I feel like, while posts and pictures are public, activities on facebook like surfing friends’ profiles and editing your own are still somewhat private activities. However, by participating in these activities in a public space, the activities then became public knowledge.