In a society where retrieving information is as easy as reading a tweet or searching a #hashtag, I am forced to ask the question: Have our expectations of receiving real-time information become unreasonable?
Recently, I was talking to my friend who is a teacher at a local elementary school. During our discussions of lesson plans, arithmetic, and recess, I was shocked when she expressed a new teaching frustration.
Instead of children simply going home and sharing with their parents what they learned at school or parents asking for an update from the teacher through email, teachers are now expected to provide information in real-time.
Due to parent requests, my teacher friend was required to create a Twitter handle so that parents could follow her while she tweeted live from the classroom. That’s right, minute-by-minute updates on what is being taught and what lessons are being given.
However, according to my teacher friend, taking short breaks during a lesson to tweet what is happening has had a dramatic effect on the classroom. Even those minute long pauses have greatly affected the attention span of the children, and the classroom often becomes distracted while waiting for her to tweet.
Has social media revolutionized the way we receive information?
Of course! In many circumstances, the platforms have allowed the world to be informed on timely issues in the matter of seconds. However, it is also important that, as we continue to be accustomed to receiving real-time updates, we also appreciate the value of truly capitalizing on the moments in which we live.
Just as parents desire the full attentiveness of their children at the dining room table, teachers hope for this same attention during class. It is important that as we desire the continuous ability to receive information on a “get it now” basis, that we also respect the moments of social media silence.