The data collected during this research has shown that most people in this specific population own a computer - Computer conclusion introduction. This includes all students who reside in the university dorm. The breakdown of the type of computers owned by each person shows that while 100% of the dorm students own some kind of computer, 50% of them own both a laptop and a desktop. Laptops are therefore shown to be very common despite (or perhaps because of) the high level of technology they represent. In fact, one person interviewed admitted that she knew only one person who had only a desktop.
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Based on the perceptions of those persons who were interviewed, people who possess only a laptop seem to be less adept at working the computer—that is, they were not quite as “computer savvy” as those who possessed desktops. The group of persons possessing only laptops was predominantly made up of girls who were found to have bought the instrument because it is considered “fashionable” and facilitates social interaction. In fact, one interviewee has expressed the opinion that female’s use of computers has increased overall, in his opinion, since the advent of such programs that allow a wider scope of social interaction. These and other persons have become fascinated with laptops portability rather than its technical capabilities. Beyond socializing, however, possessing a laptop is also shown to have a significant effect on study habits. It was found that many persons consider laptops more suitable for school life because of the ease with which they can be taken to and from classes or study groups.
The opinion that most people have is that the computer is a necessity for dorm life. It becomes a social tool in that it facilitates the whole atmosphere of openness and sociability. Everyone knows each other as there are few barriers in the dorm, and even those few barriers are surmountable through the use of chat and other social networking programs. Therefore, people can be by themselves in their rooms and yet still be socializing with another person down the hall. One significant impact of the computer on social habits was found to occur as a result of instant messaging (IM). People would IM others who were even right next to them. Yet, the computer also expands the scope of people’s social network beyond the dorms, since the computer keeps the students connected also to others around the world.
The degree to which people are considered to know each other varies, and the computer actually has facilitated deeper and closer relationships between persons. Several people who “know each other” from the dorms really only know each other’s faces and perhaps their names. While this is also the case to a significant extent with acquaintances forged through the computer, some persons do actually get to know each other quite well through frequent conversations through instant messaging and email systems. The degree to which people can be said to socialize and make friends through the use of computers varies from person to person, however, and a lot depends on the personality of the individual. However, because so many of the persons interviewed agree on the usefulness of the computer in social networking, one can conclude that instant messaging programs, Facebook, and MySpace (among others) helps initiate interaction and break down some of the social walls that might otherwise have been a barrier to interaction.
One interviewee has commented that “laptops increase social aptitude, in terms of Facebook and MySpace.” The interviewee goes on to add that those persons “without laptops may be at a disadvantage socially, as residents rely on Facebook and MySpace for means of communication.” Such means of communication might be extended to include programs that provide users with social/business updates and that helps them make note of things. As the interviewee mentions, the computer helps people “know birthdays, plan events, schedule parties, leave messages, and develop camaraderie.” Another interviewee has stressed the importance of these programs by saying “Everyone in dorm has a Facebook, if you don’t have one nobody knows your birthday.” The use of technology, and computers in particular, is precisely the means through which many people plan events, and it is how a great many of them remember things.
The use of a laptop appears to pose no particular advantage over desktop beyond the portability issue as it regards the use of such programs as MySpace and Facebook. As far as portability goes, however, the advantages are significant, as one has the ability via these programs to stay in touch with one’s friends and colleagues on a much more constant basis as long as a wireless network is available.
Suggestions for Extending the Research
A incidental finding of this research is that many people think chat clients, such as YahELite, Yazak, Y!Mlite, seem to be slowly going out of use. Fewer people use chat clients in this particular dorm, it seemed, compared to the number of them that use such social networks as Facebook and MySpace. While this seems to be true for the population studied, it is not clear whether this trend carries over to the global population of internet users. Certainly, chat client capabilities and similarities are embedded in within the social network programs such as Facebook and MySpace. More research is needed in this area to find out the degree to which social networks have replaced (or are replacing) chat clients. It is true that the safety of chat clients has come up as an issue, and this might be a reason for the perceived decline in their usage (Data Stronghold, 2007).
Currently, it is known that research and development still goes on for chat client software, and there does appear to be a wealth of conversations that have been recently ongoing concerning several chat client applications. For example, software developer Thomas J. McAlee has been working on a new version of the internet relay chat client (Klient), which will run on Windows Vista, a graphical operating system for computers (McAlee, 2006). It has also been noted, however, that many of the conversations on the web concerning chat client applications have been centered on problems that users have been facing with them (Jennifer, 2007). Whether this points toward the existence of a decline in usage and whether this decline might be attributable to system failures are areas of research that are as yet untapped. This research can therefore be extended to look into the popularity trends and technical function of chat clients in comparison with social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.
Data Stronghold. “Chat Clients – Safe or Not?” Data Stronghold.com: IT Knowledge for the Masses. http://www.datastronghold.com/security-articles/general-security-Je articles/chat-clients—safe-or-not.html
Jennifer. “Chat Client Problem Please Help.” DeveloperWeb.net, 2007. http://developerweb.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3415
McAlee, Thomas J. Klient: Internet Relay Chat Client. Klient.com, 2006. http://www.klient.com/news.php