iFriendship – The New Old Way of Connection:
A project that had started out merely as a class assignment had become very personal to myself when it began to pertain to something that I, and many of my colleagues, friends, family, and acquaintances are guilty of. At first, my group and I had gotten together to simply brainstorm and had come up with the perfect “New Challenge.” Our initial New Challenge would be to create some sort-of online atmosphere for students to meet one another and actually get to know one another prior to meeting in person in the city of New York. Loneliness was our main priority and we thought to ourselves, fundamentally, that this would be somewhat similar to sites such as match.com, okcupid.com, datehookup.com, and all the other myriad online dating sites there are there. We needed a twist! As Media Students, cognizant of the fact that within just several years we had a radical change in the way our society functions, we believe that there is a direct correlation between the number of hours one spends on their phone, tablets, computer, Mp3 player, facebook, myspace, etc. and lack of communication. It becomes an addiction that many people do not seem to address as it just feels as though more and more people are constantly utilizing their electronic devices to isolate themselves from society. So the problem does not lie on the individual himself/herself, it lies on the conglomerates who keep releasing these products who everyone seems to use. A great abundance of information is held within a small rectangular device that everyone carries with them. iPhones for example are merely 4.5 inches in height and weigh only 4.9 ounces! That is absolutely mind-boggling considering the fact of what it is capable of doing. Think about having the world at your fingertips and then look down on your smart phone to notice the culprit why our society is, arguably, dysfunctional. Though there are numerous benefits to the iPhone and other electronic devices, there also come many problems. Problems include, but are certainly not limited to, being detached from society. I will provide, in the post, an additional very comical (in my personal opinion), however, pertinent clip from the HBO Series Entourage that demonstrates a “director” preoccupied with his phone as an actor auditions and the actors reaction.
During our plotting out of what we will be posing as a New School | New Challenge, we looked around us and the answer was literally right in front of us! Every single individual that was surrounding us, including ourselves, were on our phones and/or other electronic devices. It was mind-boggling and at the same time somewhat jarring to notice this. We got to brainstorming, as a group, and we seemed to take our ideas and expand it on other ideas. We asked ourselves, why is it that many people (especially in our generation) have difficulty in communicating effectively? We found the answer and it is ELECTRONICS!
So what we pose to do is create a site that somewhat challenges all forms of media and while utilizing an extension of technology (the internet), we hope to lure people in using the internet and getting them to respond to realize the problem at hand. We introduce iFriendship a site that is devoted to re-educating people on how to socialize effectively in our society. Our solution is actually educating or re-educating individuals on how to socialize effectively within our society. Educate to the common man/woman the problems that are posed with the introduction of electronic devices. Noise cancelling head-sets are just one of many examples of something that completely isolates one from his/her surroundings not knowing what is going on around them both mentally and physically. After we lure people in utilizing what people use the most on a daily basis (the internet) we hope to isolate all forms of communication from the internet. As opposed to other sites (i.e. Facebook) which encourage collaborating through the computer, we hope to literally “cut-off” an individual to associate with another individual by means of our website after a certain period of time. Additionally, this website will be limited solely to students and students must provide a .edu e-mail upon registration in order to obtain access to the site, this is mandatory! We want to create an atmosphere where people don’t have to worry so much about stalkers, pedophiles, trolls on the internet, etc…We want to create a website that promotes being actual real-life interaction. We also hope to start small and then expand over time. With this being said, we will first limit it strictly to New York City and upon success, we will hope to expand our website and open it up to other students across the globe. We hope to, by cutting people off after a certain allotted time to foster actually meeting that other person in reality and getting to know one another in person. Communities that are affected by the digital age is literally almost every community in the world (excluding third world countries, perhaps). It is estimated that people spend 7 hours a day using some form of electronic devices (and that might be a generous estimate as I suspect much more) – that’s 210 hours a month! The facts are jarring. There is a question posed as to how our site is innovative and how it is different and that is merely by taking a look at what we are trying to establish and how we are trying to do it. Although, there are, once again, sites out there that promote meeting one another and moving beyond the realm of the internet (an enclosed virtual space, arguably) our site wants to, within the description of it, allow people to know of the jarring statistics and to let people know that they are not alone! Loneliness is linked to depression and it’s no wonder that, nowadays, they say that psychology is the best field to get into.
Who Are We:
I’ve somewhat touched upon this before! I, personally, am a student of the ways of human life. Beyond that I am also a student who studies media and it’s relation to our contemporary society. My group and I are all students in the Masters Program in Media Studies here at The New School. All of us have backgrounds in communication and some as far as illustration. We’ve all taken several courses that deal with Sociology and have all taken courses in the communications department that pose concerns of the “digital age.” We’ve all read Adorno and we’ve all been exposed to the theoretical foundations of what his understanding of society is and how it has taken a radical shift. We want to teach people these concepts ,on a surface level. We want to let people know how to balance out using computes and socializing in public. We want to see more PHONES and other ELECTRONIC DEVICES go off and in lieu of being trapped within the realm of a 3 inch screen, look up and talk to someone else. We don’t really want to connect with a lot of people in our journey to educate or re-educate people on how to socialize effectively but we do want to get people involved. Including ourselves, we would like to get people to learn how to create an effective balance. To be quite honest, this is a very personal subject matter to myself and to my team members, which is why we hope to start small and branch out over a certain period of time but always remember the true purpose of our project which is “the new old way of connecting people.”
iFriendship (The Name and Reiterating the Concept and Sponsorship):
Everybody, no matter what continent he/she is on, knows about the iPhone, the iMac, the iPad, iPod, etc… We created a name that people will be able to identify with. Meeting people online and then promoting actually meeting in person is, in most cases, overwhelming, however, just like with the introduction of all these electronic devices into our lives, we hope that people will learn to adapt to this concept over time. This is why we created the name iFriendship as it correlates to the concept of the “electronic world,” however goes far beyond that by promoting the actual meeting in person.
There is a financial restraint that we run into. We truly have no intention of making money, however, we do need funds in order to get launched. We strongly believe that we can receive grants from several behavioral science departments from several institutions, provided that we compensate them with statistics and being able to analytically monitor our activity. Additionally, within time and once we broaden our horizons, we hope to be able to get sponsorships from certain museums and the general community. We want to keep it simplistic and don’t want to expand too quickly over a short amount of time. Slowly and gradually will be the motto because we fear that if we expand too quickly, we will forget the true intentions of the website which is that of re-educating people on socializing effectively. It’s all about US, not the CONGLOMERATES.
http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/14/7-things-we-learned-about-online-dating-from-the-co-founder-of-okcupid/ (this is a pretty interesting read and pertinent to where we are coming from)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XkxSqLLw1I (this scene demonstrates what we see each and every single day. Notice, however, the concept of the internet morphed together with the mobile phone was just introduced).