Variable Social Meanings

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Technology is in every part of our lives and everyday items have a great number of variable social, economic, cultural and symbolic meanings to different individuals. In our discussion group we see how simple everyday items such as cups, purses, pop cans, keys, cell phones and other items evoke different associations and meanings for individuals. There are a wide variety of other items that were also discussed and students shared their perspective about the meanings of these items as well. A summary of student perspectives towards basic and complex items will be analyzed and the similarities and differences between perspectives will be provided.

There are many variable social meanings associated with technology. Items are not only associated with an intended functionality but in today’s society almost all products have some meaning and are used as a method to express our individual uniqueness. The social use, meaning and perception of an item, as well as the monetary value versus the benefit associated with the technology are subjective and dependent upon the individual. A couple of students felt that the meanings given to items will depend on an individual’s orientation towards the technology, however Varinder shared a different perspective that it can be the items orientation in relation to its surrounding that gives the item a specific social meaning. From a social perspective, a number of students felt that basic and complex technological items make individuals lives more convenient as these items give us the ability to stay connected all the time and give us the ability to do multiple things at once. Carolyn attributed the social meaning of “laziness” to the convenience factor technology is creating. In addition, the notion of technology creating accessibility can create a positive or negative experience depending on the user’s feelings towards technology and the purpose of its use. Technology is meaningless according to one student and each...
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