To Love and/or To Hate

September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Picture probably related, as we will soon see. 

BUT FIRST. Yesterday during class I decided to ask my students about their relationship to technology, specifically their attitudes towards and experiences with their most beloved and most loathed machine/platform/technological whatever. I asked because I was curious, but also because it’s VERY IMPORTANT to figure out this sort of dynamic, the sooner the better — in order to know how to structure and present my lectures, I need to know what kinds of people I’m dealing with. Mostly programmers? Mostly luddites? Mostly casual Facebook users? etc. Not that I have an investment in that breakdown, but it is a good breakdown to take into account. 

So I asked, and immediately a trend began to emerge — about three quarters of the class cited the same technology for both categories. In other words, the things they loved the most were also the things they hated the most. Even more intriguingly, smartphones, and specifically iPhones (further intriguing tidbit: every. single. student. had an iPhone), were the most frequently cited love/hate technology. The consensus was that, while smartphones bring us together, they also….well they bring us together. Maybe a bit too together. Furthermore, while smartphones help us connect with our friends, they also help us be very rude to our friends, either due to texting during real life conversations and/or accidentally pissing someone off while texting, because of inadequate or not enough emoticons. Plus as annoying as their phones can be, the students have a hard time ever turning them off. Because what if they miss a text they don’t want? 

The funny thing is, I could totally relate — but not with love/hating my phone. I just love my phone, no ambivalence there. But I do reserve the greatest amount of revulsion for the thing I also love above all else — namely, the stupid goddamn internet, may god bless it forever. See above; I am both the annoying meme-pin wearer and also the person attempting to jump out the window. This is a very strange relationship, now that I think about it. And probably not very healthy. Sort of a “you make me sick and I hate you, let’s have a baby!” deal. 

And this is why I like teaching.


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