Purdue professor discusses how social media could be affecting us

Social media may be changing us in ways that we won't be able to explain for years, according to Dr. Sorin Matei, a Purdue University professor of communication. Photo credit: Socialmaximizer blog

Do you ever wonder how social media might be affecting our society?

I sure do.

It fascinates me every day.

To find out some answers, I recently interviewed Purdue communication professor Dr. Sorin Matei, who is a communication technology scholar, to discuss social media with me.

Dr. Matei says on his biography website that he studies, “… the motivations for and technological means by which people connect with other people, communities or institutions.”

I was interested to hear his perspectives about social media, and what effects he thinks they might be having on the way we communicate.

We’ve all heard examples of the horror stories that can occur online, but there are also benefits of connecting online that can sometimes be overshadowed by them.

In this audio clip, Dr. Matei talks about the advantages and disadvantages of living in an always connected world:

One issue I was really curious to ask about during the interview was the controversial issue of privacy on the internet.

Dr. Matei said he shares the same belief about internet privacy as a famous Web 2.0 scholar who once said,

“Privacy? Forget about it! There’s no such thing as privacy anymore!”

I have to agree with that. Privacy and the internet don’t go together very well. I’m not sure if they ever will.

I was also curious about the way that digital communication is affecting our relationships that we have with people.

Dr. Matei said that most of the relationships that are started online are seen by sociologists as “weak connections”.

According to those sociologists, these connections do not entail any reciprocal obligations. Not even mutual respect.

On the flip side, Dr. Matei also had some interesting things to say about our friends whom we interact with in both the digital and physical worlds.

When I asked about how digital communication is affecting these relationships, Dr. Matei had this to say:

I’m in one of Dr. Matei’s classes this semester, Com 435, which is about emerging communication technologies.

For the class, he has us create what he calls a “digital portfolio” throughout the semester.

There was a Wall Street Journal article published recently that noted that some businesses are no longer looking at resumes, rather, they want to look at a job candidate’s online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.)

In light of that article, I asked him why he thinks it’s important for us to create a “digital portfolio” in his class.

Although this clip is very short, I think it’s very important.

Here’s what he had to say:

He emphasized that each of us individually should take as much control over our digital presence as possible.

I hope this information helps you think about your digital presence as much as it has me thinking about it.

I’m sure I will sound like a like a broken record here, but remember to be mindful of what you post!

You never know who may be looking!

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2 thoughts on “Purdue professor discusses how social media could be affecting us

  1. Thanks for this info. Since I am tech impaired any additional knowledge is appreciated.

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