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Colloquium Examines Social Interaction in Wi-Fi World

Three Pennsylvania College of Technology communications faculty juggled the timely topic of cellphones and human emotions in their presentation, “Technology and Interpersonal Relationships: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” Tuesday night in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium.

Michael J. Reed, dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications, welcomes the audience to the evening’s engaging gathering.
Michael J. Reed, dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications, welcomes the audience to the evening’s engaging gathering.
Raising their well-lighted devices like concertgoers, audience members are encouraged to keep them handy for live polling. (The man for whom the colloquia series is named can be seen at far right in a burgundy shirt.)
Raising their well-lighted devices like concertgoers, audience members are encouraged to keep them handy for live polling. (The man for whom the colloquia series is named can be seen at far right in a burgundy shirt.)

Sandra Lakey, associate professor of speech communication-composition; Joe Loehr, associate professor of mass media communication/English-composition; and John D. Maize, instructor of speech communication-composition, encouraged audience members to use their cellphones to participate in live polling during the talk and to put their devices away when engaging in emotional conversations.

The third presentation of the Daniel J. Doyle Technology & Society Colloquia Series, the event featured engaging examples of positive and negative ways our technology, especially cellphones, impacts personal dynamics. One surprising statistic revealed that “people check cellphones on average every 6 1/2 minutes.”

The evening enjoyed a good turnout of interested students, employees and community members – including a group of local Girl Scouts. The series’ eponym was also in attendance. The presentation ended with a question-and-answer session and a reception in Wrapture.

One of the sadder polls of the evening revealed that a large portion of the audience is familiar with ending a long-term relationship by text message or email.
One of the sadder polls of the evening revealed that a large portion of the audience is familiar with ending a long-term relationship by text message or email.
Presenters (from left) Lakey, Maize and Loehr listen attentively to an audience question near the end of their talk.
Presenters (from left) Lakey, Maize and Loehr listen attentively to an audience question near the end of their talk.

The next offering of the series will be a talk by acclaimed author and environmental activist Rick Bass at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the auditorium. That presentation is titled “A Pilgrim’s Wilderness: Lessons on the Environment, War & Technology.”

The entire presentation has been added to the college’s YouTube channel:

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