Does the Web and social technologies make us less social or more social? is the big question that Watkins asks in Chapter 3 of “The Young and the Digital.” This is such a difficult question to have a completely correct answer for. The argument for the Web and social networking sites making us less social is the fact that we physically spend hours upon hours by ourselves watching, listening, and even talking to a computer screen. However, the counter point to that argument is that we may be communicating and interacting with way more people (digitally) than we could ever imagine compared to going out into the real world and interacting with those who are in your close vicinity. As suggested by Watkins, people obviously cherish their personal relationships more than the ones on the Web, but at the same time people are spending more time on the Web in satisfy their craving to connect and interact within an online community.
I am really torn on this issue! I personally believe that the number of video blogs (vlogs) that are out there shows how isolated people have become and even how narcissistic our culture has become. At no other time in history has a regular Joe Shmoe been able to share his opinions with so many people, and believe that people actually care about what they are saying (I am being hypocritical, obviously, as I am writing this opinion based blog). Many of these vloggers talk into the camera on their computers isolated in a room. I would feel weird if I started vlogging and someone walked in on me having a conversation with my computer. On the other hand, however, since there are sooooo many individuals who are participating in this online sharing of opinions, and since so many people are responding either by comments or video responses, I see how the web has become a place for people to connect. As Watkins said, “We constantly hear that new communication technologies are reinventing how the young and the digital communicate with each other. And it is true. Computer and mobile-phone screens are certainly the dominant screen technologies in their lives” (Watkins, 61).
This desired to share opinions has changed the culture of fandom as well. No longer do teenagers and young adults have to organize times to meet up for a “Harry Potter Fan Club;” these fans can now interact, create, communicate, and evolve the content of what they are actually fans of through creative uses of digital technology. I think it is really cool and interesting that these Harry Potter fanatics have developed intriguing, creative, and educational ways to interact as fan of Harry Potter. Kids create their own extra stories about the characters in Harry Potter and share them online, they make video responses and predictions about new-released books, they create songs and bands that revolve around the themes in Harry Potter. So although the young and the digital may be sitting at their computers by themselves, but they are definitely building a large community of friends and growing relationship at a faster pace than any other time in history.
Here is my favorite Harry Potter project created by fans: