Sac State Magazine

Spring 2014

Sac State Magazine is a publication produced by the Office of Advancement Communications and Stewardship at Cal State University, Sacramento highlighting alumni, students, faculty and staff.

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16 S AC S TAT E M AGA Z I N E | S pr i ng 2 014 However, isolated users will likely continue to be so, despite communication advances. "People who have few relationships offline try to enhance their online interactions, but they still struggle," Migliaccio says. "They have greater knowledge about technology. But they still are limited socially." Our technolgoical connections create "pseudo-intimacy" between people, he says. And gaps in communication are filled in with our own perceptions and interpretations. Such as when we text, Migliaccio says. "Texting limits our personal interactions. But it allows us regular interactions, so contact persists." Communication Studies Professor Diego Bonilla takes Migliaccio's stance a step further. He contends communication technologies don't necessarily help or hurt our social interactions, but rather extend who we already are offline. In the early days of the Internet, theorists propounded it was an "identity laboratory" where people could "reinvent themselves" to experience different identities. But that theory isn't proving to be the case. "New research is showing that identity construction is more about extending the true self," says Bonilla. Whether this is good or bad for us, the jury is still out. "It is not that the medium is positive or negative," he says. "It's what humans do with it. "It's almost like having a bionic arm. (It's bad) if I use it to hit you in the face." Bonilla says, And, he concedes, that "arm" is getting longer. "Internet communications are making us extend ourselves to a realm that we didn't have before," he says. Throughout history, society has never experienced such a rapid increase in communications technology, explains Scott Lupo, a Sac State lecturer on the history of the United States. Lupo says today's advances like online connectivity are inspiring excitement similar to the advents of past communication inventions, but on an entirely new level. "While there were significant developments before, today's new innovations, particularly within the realm of social media, can "New research is showing that identity construction is more about extending the true self. It is not that the medium is positive or negative. It's what humans do with it." – Diego Bonilla Is greater connectivity a blessing or curse? Haven for bad grammar and ridiculous acronyms or outlet for synthesizing thoughts into neat packages? As more of us post, text and tweet, often on tiny screens, we often forgo formality or even full words. And that made us wonder if this new way of communicating affects writing—especially in the classroom. We asked Sac State's Molly Dugan, a professor of journalism, and Timothy Howard, a professor of public relations, to give us their takes on whether emailing, texting and chatting have contributed to making students' writing better or worse. Timothy Howard: "There has been a decline in the quality of writing in general over the past 20-25 years. Initially, television was The demonization of social media Is digital getting a bad rap?

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