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FaceTime: Bringing Us Together, or Apart?

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

After class the other day, Professor Rejack mentioned that there was a new version of the MacBook coming out in the near future. Terribly embarrassed that I had absolutely no idea about this new computer, I immediately jumped online to do some research. Instead of learning about all the newest features, storage, or processing for the new MacBook – I found something much more interesting, Face Time for MacBook beta. This application, available since Octoberof 2010, allows apple customers to videoconference using either a MacBook or an iPhone.

One of the biggest public complaints about the iPhone 4’s Face time feature was the fact that it only worked between iPhone users on a Wi-Fi network. So technically you could not face time ANYWHERE. Yet, this problem was fixed with the Skype app. Skype allows you to face time with users on both Wi-Fi and the 3G network. iPhone users everywhere can face time, and now with the development of face time with MacBook, apple users can video conference just about anywhere.

What kind of opportunities does this open up for the average person? There have been many arguments that technology is a force of depersonalization; that people are beginning to have “cyber personalities”, completely different from whom they are in person. Our youngest generation feels more comfortable texting each other than picking up the phone to make a call. People no longer know how to write thank you notes or birthday cards. They are no longer taught social etiquette, how to interact face-to-face with others, or overall social skills.

Is Apple encouraging this fast-forward into the future, and throwing away old social conventions? Or is Apple is helping us reverse this trend by bringing us face to face with others again? Are we going to gain back everything that this generation has lost? Only time will tell as to whether or not face time actually catches on or becomes a faded novelty with texting and email still more convenient. As we progress into the 21st century, we can only hope that society will continue to be aware of the social dangers of technology.

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