Tag Archives: Twitter

From our perspective: Our generation needs to improve their communication skills

“Wut r u up 2?” “Chillin. U?” “Me 2.” Srsly?

Our generation is by far one of the smartest and most privileged to date. Yet we’re completely inept when it comes to communicating with one another. It’s so simple to prove; just walk around campus. There are thousands of students milling around with their noses in their phones, paying no attention to their surroundings.

The staff at Whim thinks it’s become a bit of a problem. Most college students are supposed to be super social creatures (haven’t you seen “Animal House”?) and we are. Kind of. College students average 12 hours a day with some sort of media outlet, be it Facebook, Twitter or cellphones.

Kathleen Bigelow on the phone. Photo by Austin Tuley.

What that’s saying is we’ll tweet you but we won’t talk to you in person. One of the funniest things to do is to watch the social interactions in Starbucks. Most of these people know each other since it’s a pretty small campus, but they rarely talk to each other for long. There’s an awkward greeting and then the phone comes out. Our ability to create small talk is gone.

We’ve all committed these communication crimes. We all have Facebook friends we’ve met a few times, but when you see each other in public you don’t even acknowledge them. Honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing. We almost create these alternate lives.

Ariel Long on the phone. Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

It’s not even just our inability to have a decent conversation. You don’t even need gumption or guts to stand up to someone anymore. Just a few years ago fighting via text message was frowned upon. Now, it’s a daily habit. Heck, some Whim staffers have probably been feuding with their boyfriends or roommates during our budget meetings!

This is just one way technology is changing our entire culture. We used to value confidence and quick thinking. Now during an argument or debate, you have plenty of time to think of what to say. You don’t even have to answer. This certain anonymity makes a person braver than usual.

If this continues to happen, what else is going to become socially acceptable? We can slowly see it happening — entire romantic relationships can begin and end with a text message. And we’re beginning to think this is OK.

Technology is a great thing and brings people together in ways that have never been achieved before. But we’re beginning to believe it’s being used too often to mask how we really feel or to do emotionally difficult things for us. Who knows, we might be hearing about a marriage proposal text message soon.

RockMelt: The future of social browsing is now

The Rockmelt logo. Photo from Creative Commons.

Rockmelt: a social browser. Photo from Creative Commons.

Social browsers are a relatively new idea. They integrate your favorite social media websites into a single browser, allowing users to experience Facebook or Twitter in a unique streamlined way. Previous social browsers such as Flock were bulky and intrusive on how they displayed Facebook and other social media websites while browsing the Internet. Rockmelt is one of the first to integrate a smooth, clean interface making use of two separate side bars, called dashboard wings.

Rockmelt is built with the same chromium tools that made Google Chrome. This gives the browser a quick response felt even on less than ideal Internet connections. The interface for Rockmelt is smooth and sleek, allowing users to download and browse with little to no learning curve. This is a good thing for new users who may be interested in the browser’s networking capabilities.

The best thing about Rockmelt are those dashboard wings as each wing serves a unique purpose. The left wing displays who is online on Facebook, allowing users to interact with them via the Rockmelt interface. With a click you are able to message, update or chat with friends who are online. The Rockmelt interface looks cleaner and sleeker than the typical Facebook one for just about anything.

The left wing is where users can switch between social media services, and currently the only other major service the browser covers is Twitter. Its features with Twitter are not nearly as impressive as the ones for Facebook. The Twitter features are secluded to a simple pop up pane that opens with your Twitter feed, and though it does allow full access to all of Twitter’s features, it is not nearly as integrated as the Facebook ones.

Web browsing is a different experience with Rockmelt at your fingertips. While users are still able to browse the Web like they are use to, Rockmelt allows you to share just about anything on either Facebook or Twitter with a right click. Not only can you share stuff in your Facebook main feed, but if you drag it over to your friend bar for Facebook you are able to send the link directly to live friends for their enjoyment. The search bar for Rockmelt returns to something more reminiscent of Firefox as opposed to Chrome. The search bar drops down providing a number of links as you type and creating a pre-generated view of the website as you hover your mouse over the link, which can be then opened into tabs for later viewing pleasure.

Rockmelt is currently in beta-testing, and with all its great features users will be able to tell. The browser is a resource hog devouring memory and processing power. It does not use the latest and most secure update of the Chromium source code. Some of the services the browser offers are currently overwhelmed by the number of users. One such service that is overwhelmed includes the friend wing on the browser which at times refuses to load who’s online.

Even with its few annoying bugs and security issues, Rockmelt is an exciting new contender on the social browser stage. As it exits, beta users should expect to see a greater level of included features for Twitter and other social media outlets. That is assuming that Facebook or some other company does not buy the start up browser before it can really get its feet off the ground.