Our new imaginary friend: The IPad 2








When you were a kid, have you ever had an imaginary friend? I sure did. I remember signing to the wall in my bed before I went to sleep because I imagined there was a girl who looked exactly like me and this girl wanted to be my friend. Even if my imaginary friend never physically appeared as I wished she would, I still felt connected to her somehow.

After listening to the team who gave a presentation on the “imagined community,” it made me really reflect on how this imagined community actually achieves people feeling connected to each other without even meeting each other in person and how we can develop new “imaginary friends” online.  I started to reflect on the different features of the imagined community other than the World War Craft game or the Eva Online or even Facebook. Then the IPad 2 came in mind. I live in a house with 9 women. Oh, don’t worry, it is a big house that fits all of us. 🙂 Two of my roommates just ordered their IPads 2. When the new IPads 2 arrived, I felt like the IPads 2 became their new imaginary friends. They were so focused on playing with the features that were in their devices and did not interact much our other roommates. Sure, I understand that they are excited to get their new toy, but I saw how they developed their own “network society” just by owning an Ipad 2. They played different games that were featured in the IPad 2. They connected to different online interactions with other people who also had IPads 2 as well. It was like an IPad 2 community. For example, there is a game called “Word Friends.” My roommates would sign in then they would meet other people who also have IPads 2 and interact with them online by playing that game. It is almost like playing the game “Scrabble.” Not only that, but there is also another game called “Family Feud.” Both of my roommates played Family Feud with each other and enjoyed each other’s company by just playing online. They did not have an in depth conversation in person or talked to each other face to face but they enjoyed each other’s presence just by playing against each other on Family Feud. My two roommates felt connected together. They created their own imagined community by using their IPads 2.

I am not even sure if I want to order an IPad 2. It might be exciting to join that network society where I would establish my common ground with other people who own IPads, but do I really want to do that? To become part of that virtual world? Have another imaginary friend aka the IPad 2? Being part of that social network does not mean I will meet every person face to face. I might meet some people online through my IPad 2 that I might feel connected, but never will physically meet that person. Do I want to have that? I am not sure if I am ready for that yet. I am just fine with a blackberry phone and a PC laptop that still keep me connected with school, family, and friends. But, to be part of that new imagined community of IPad 2 members, that…I will need to consider.




2 Comments to “Our new imaginary friend: The IPad 2”

  1. Social media and mobile devices create a sort of community within themselves. Owning an iPad2 is an automatic commonality that many people see as a part of determining an “in” and “out” –I know that since getting a Mac, I feel a part of some kind of artsy community that understands the necessity of Apple’s computer software. But I also agree with you that letting devices take the place of our friends or determine who we’re allowed to socialize with seems off-putting and even anti-social. I would find it extremely rude if I always felt second best to a game or even “networked” friends that might be somewhere connecting on the interwebs. I think the ability to find people from all over the world to talk to is fascinating, but the balance between exploring who’s out there and remembering how to treat people in every day life seems to be difficult to strike for most people these days. The benefits of the devices we have are certainly worth our time, but I sometimes worry about how easily distracted we are when we’re constantly plugged in. The network society offers something important that cannot be dismissed, but it also potentially threatens our in-person networks without going checked.

  2. Sometimes I really wonder what is wrong with me. When it comes to fads, trends and having the latest and greatest anything including technology I just really don’t get it. I think this is part of the reason why I find communications and technology fascinating in an academic sense; because I just don’t get the fascination. There are so many other things i would rather be doing and so many interesting people I would rather talk to than play random games on an ipad or xbox or any other device for that matter. I can see the charm in playing video games in person with friends more than ipad games, but it just seems so pointless. Then you add the fact that people do make it into a defining factor of being a part of a group and seems even more ridiculous to me. I just really don’t understand why you would choose to relate to someone over something so insignificant and trivial as an electronic object; it says absolutely nothing about you as a person. Perhaps it’s merely an attempt to gain status; whatever the cause I think most of it is just the posterchild for over consumption. While some people may actually use them in a significant way, a lot of people I feel just buy these things to feel apart of that group, even if they really have no practical use for the item. And No I don’t feel playing angry birds is considered practical use.

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