US psychologist Sherry Turkle claims that in the currently digital age we are forgetting how to talk to each other. In a recent interview to The Guardian, she explained that “89% of Americans admit they took out a phone at their last social encounter – and 82% say that they felt the conversation deteriorated after they did so.” Crucially, people do not seem aware of their new technologies’ addiction. As a result of this social media invasion, new habits are arising: people tweeting while eating breakfast, snapchats of dinners and night outs with friends, and Facebook photo galleries of exotic trips around the world are just a few examples.
Perhaps, as Professor Deuze writes in his article “Media Life”, we all live in our own Truman Show; living in a media life, where “our life is lived in, rather than with, media”, means that we are actually able to see and experience just what these media highlight, our relationship with the real life seems therefore mediated and completely staged. But what we should also take into account is the social and community side of social media, it is incredible how with just 140 characters we are enabled to create new communities with either random strangers or people we already know offline.
Plenty of articles and researches have investigated the social media impact on people’s interpersonal relationships in the daily life. Instead, what I would like to discuss here are the pros and cons of using social media as learning tools within the academic field. Specifically, by using my personal experience as Postgraduate student in Media and Communications at LSE, I am going to briefly outline positive and negative sides of using Twitter during lectures and seminars.