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Thursday, May. 9, 2013
The best student comment on "Insta-Interruption" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
**DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
Beth and Katie have been friends throughout college, but their busy schedules have kept them from spending a lot of quality time together recently. They finally find a time to meet for lunch, and both girls are excited to catch up.
When their food arrives, Katie exclaims, “Oh, this looks so good—I have to Instagram this!” Beth laughs and checks her Facebook notifications while her friend takes a picture and chooses just the right filter. Together, they deliberate over which hashtags perfectly encapsulate the finished creation, and Beth finally posts it 10 minutes later. They both put their phones down and continue their conversation, but Katie keeps receiving comments and “likes” on the Instagram picture of their lunch, so she keeps checking her phone. Beth gets a text from a classmate about a group project, and she spends about 5 minutes texting back and forth to schedule a meeting time for later in the evening. The dialogue between the two women is, therefore, sprinkled with long pauses as they get distracted by their devices.
At the end of their lunch, Beth and Katie hug each other and promise to see each other again soon. On the way to her car, Beth stops to take a picture of a rose that she sees so that she can Instagram it later, and Katie tags Beth in a Facebook status: “Love catching up with old friends in the sunshine!”
Does this sound familiar to you? Do you interrupt your face-to-face interactions with social media platforms or text messages to people who aren’t there? Do your friends do that to you? Do you think that these kinds of interactions negatively affect friendships, or are they just a natural part of an increasingly technology-dependent society? Do you feel the need to report on everything you’re doing during the day via social media? Do you think this enhances or devalues friendships?
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Comments Comments

Piper said on May 9, 2013
I deal with this issue all the time. I personally despise when my friends are on their phones when we are having "quality time" together. If i am making time on my schedule to see you, i want to actually spend time with you, not look at you and your cell phone. I dont think that a lot of people have a problem with it in the college setting because technology is such a huge part of our lives. Though, my friends know how i feel about it and they are kind enough to respect that when they are with me. Because this issue is such a big deal lately, my friends and i put our phones in our purses during lunches, and whoever touches their phone first has to by the next round or lunch or whatever it is. Recently i was walking and thought about how thankful i was about something going on in my life and i thought, wow i should put this as my new status. But then i thought, wow how immature of me to need to let everyone know. It feels a little like gloating to me now. Though i am guilty of sharing my every thought. News flash, not everyone needs or wants to know about your yummy sandwich from ikes! #picklesareyummy I think that the useage of cell phones can definitely have a negative effect on friendships. But the key is to be clear about whether or not you like it or not. my friends know that it bothers me and so they keep their phones away when we are hanging. - Like - 1 person likes this.
ivan said on Feb 18, 2014
Nowadays this is not an issue anymore, because we so got addicted to social media. Today every girl has an instagram, where she posts pictures that are stupid and pointless. They do it because they want to be modern and be like celebrities. Their world has decided in two parts, one is real world and the other is social media. In social media they can be more that they are in real life, they represent themselves as queens, but in real life they are very simple. I think that we can't change it and this is a normal thing, as internet became a part of us. We all dependent on internet and we always upload pictures and we want people to put likes under our pics. I can't imagine what will be in the future, maybe we will lose all our social skills and we will be scared of people n real life. These are only my thoughts, I think we will see soon what is going to happen. - Like
Jeremy said on May 9, 2013
Whether or not constant social media use affects your friendships likely depends upon the kind of friends you have. However, there are multiple signs that this form of communication is inadequate compared to face-to-face meetings: The vast majority of human communication, for example, is not done through language but through nonverbal communication, and studies have shown that extensive time on the Internet can lead to anxiety and depression (Lam/Peng, August 2010). Social media can be useful in maintaining long-distance friendships, but when together with friends it's best to get as much out of it as you can. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Kaitlin said on May 16, 2013
This situation is increasingly present at school, in restaurants, and sadly on the road. I have had friends who will not look up from their screen while we are having a conversation or pull it out to play a game. We even had issues at the dining hall where people would sit at the table and text or check facebook while we were eating. Our generation has lost the art of conversation and instead of dealing with natural but sometimes awkward pauses in conversation, we turn to technology to distract and entertain us. We don?t know how to handle a moment of silence and think that we constantly have to be connected or connecting with someone, even though most text messages are superficial. People constantly update their facebooks or Instagrams with all the best memories in order to seek attention and feel noticed and special. I think the constant use of cell phones has prevented us from establishing meaningful relationships and is quite rude and disrespectful. If a friend does not have the respect to put the phone away for a short time, it doesn?t seem like they value your friendship enough. It?s as if they value the games, news updates, and countless other distractions more than you. - Like
Gus said on May 17, 2013
Technology will continue to be permeate our daily lives. With newer products, people will be more distracted than they are with their current smart phones (one example is Google Glass). So this problem will only get worse overtime unless we address it. I personally have an iPhone, and I make use of its "Do not disturb" setting. This allows me to only get calls/texts from people who may have urgent news for me (ie parents and family). I think that when you're sitting face-to-face with someone, you are signing a social contract which claims that you're attention should be focused on them. Its a shame that people do not care about social etiquette, and are more interested in checking up on their facebook newsfeed. Facebook and other social networks can be great for uniting old friends and making social connections, but you can't let them distract you from the people right in front of you. But I think that this problem isn't as new as people think. My father brings a book with him everywhere, and will occasionally read it when he should be talking to people in front of him. I think that people just need to realize that when you're talking with someone else face-to-face, your attention belongs to them. - Like
lshigemasa said on May 17, 2013
I think that this situation is one that a lot of SCU students can relate to. I myself do stop sometimes to take pictures of what I am doing (eating at a restaurant, snorkeling, etc.) However, I try not to let that affect the person(s) that I am interacting with. I do have friends however, that completely stop our conversation(s) in order to take pictures for Instagram. While occasionally doing this is fine, I feel that these types of situations only are a problem when they are done in excess. If I have a friend that is constantly stopping me so that they can take a picture and post in on Instagram or post on any other social media site, then that is negatively impacting our friendship. However, if I have a friend that stops every once in a while, then I would just accept it as being a natural part of this technology driven society. Overall, I think that social media is a positive way to express oneself as an individual. However, I am not so sure that it enhances one?s friendship(s) with others. It definitely can detract from physical relationships with others, but it also enhances virtual ones. What type of interactions that people value most is up to them. - Like
Mikaila Read said on May 18, 2013
There is a degree of enhancement of friendship that accompanies social media tools in terms of reachability. However, he Aristotelean notions of moderation that so many tacitly adopt might help demonstrate how an enhancement can become a harm. The ever-increasing outlets for social media and connectivity compromise boundaries and essentially raise questions regarding what constitutes "friendship" at all. Social media outlets offer what many would consider outsiders unique access to information about their lives and ability to contact them more readily. The capacity for these outlets to enhance or compromise friendship rests in the hands of the users moderating it. It's unfair to make the hasty generalization in favor or against social media and networking sites like facebook or twitter, but it is also a misrepresentation to deny that they have potential to damage or at least influence how we define relationships of a romantic or platonic nature. - Like
The Big Q said on May 21, 2013
Congratulations to "lshigemasa," winner of this Big Q Contest! Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments. Please check our blog regularly for more chances to win- we post new cases every other week! - Like
Sydney said on Jan 28, 2014
Personally I believe that technology has begun to dominate our social lives, but I think it is up to us as individuals to ensure that we actually maintain the balance of face-to-face interaction. I personally do not feel the need to report everything on social media sites, however I do find myself subconsciously checking it constantly. I feel as if many people have developed a dependence and almost need to know what is happening around them at all times, but hopefully it is merely a phase and in the future we will learn human interaction is truly more important, since it is. - Like
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Tags: etiquette, Facebook, friendship, instagram, interruption, social media