In my research methods course today we talked about focus groups and interviews. One of the most important things a researcher needs to do is to pay attention carefully. This is something that is often hard to do in society today. In 1991′s Utopian Plagiarism by Critical Art Ensemble, they speak of a so called “information panic” that technology has created in society. In 1991 the iPhone was not even developed yet and CAE nailed it. What else is twitter and social media than a mass amount of information coming at you at all times. When you take the time to actually observe what is happening around you, it is easier to learn.
One of my professors asked our 100 person class today who reads the newspaper (hard copy) every morning. Three out of one hundred people raised their hand. I’m guilty of taking short cuts, looking at what is trending and watching the morning news. I honestly couldn’t help to feel embarrassed because it was shocking to see that this is what to 18-22 year old students are like now.
If I adhere to a new years resolution this year it will be to read more than I ever have in the past. If my generation’s only form of news is condensed sentences, I would like to be the minority and read the newspaper. Maybe I’ll learn more than just what has been tailored to what I like online.
I also want to start observing situations such as what cars are parked in the parking lots of Target vs. Walmart. Where exactly are the double-dates sitting in a restaurant compared to a family of four? Where do the foreign exchange students eat in comparison to the Americans? If I paid attention to the world around me more than staring at my phone, I would probably learn a lot more. The first thing you see when students leave class is them taking out and checking their phones. Of course I always want to stay connected, but its time I balanced the technology and the now.