The Effect of Social Media on Formal Language

As texting and social media become more widely used, high school students are experiencing a drop in their ability to properly utilize formal language. Over the past ten years, the use of technology in communication has exploded and communication has shifted from predominantly verbal conversation to primarily text-based digital messaging. A general correlation between these two factors can be established as technology is the major agent of change in the modern world and the social lives of high school students and as formal language is used with decreasing frequency among the new generation.  The application of formal language has also dropped among students as new slang terms become more widely used and the lines separating formal and informal English are blurred. This change in formal social skills and lack of face to face communication is shaping teens to be less social and more prone to underdeveloped verbal social skills, which may have a major negative impact on future society. This claim that social media is causing formal language to decay is rather important as it represents a trend in cultural change that may be shaping society into a new, more reclusive, environment.

The use of social media, texting, and other forms of virtual communication has increased in popularity over the past ten years. This increase has occurred primarily due to the increase in technology available to children, teens, and adults in a broad, expanding, variety of areas. An example of this pervasion of technology in modern life can be observed with the increased use of mobile devices with internet access. Telephones and computers, in the past, were tethered to the walls of homes and businesses and were used infrequently in restricted, purpose driven, situations. As technology advanced, phones slowly became mobile and allowed people to communicate in a variety of situations and to use long distance communication for more personal and recreational purposes. Mr. Bays has taught a variety of high school subjects in the past and is currently teaching Calculus at the STEM Early College at NC A&T. He feels as though social media is used a lot more outside of the class room now than it was in the past. He has also witnessed an increasing number of his students carrying personal devices that keep students connected and available to communicate through the web at all times (Bays). Texting and the internet allow messages to be transferred easily and asynchronously between individuals regarding any topic from a business correspondence to a status update. As social media emerged, individuals found that by making profiles, others could view information regarding their desired personality and communications could be distributed easily to large groups. As new technology was introduced and popularized, communication moved from being more verbal, quick, personal, and spontaneous to being more typed, slow, distant, and deliberate.

Professor White, a youthful African American instructor at NC A&T University, teaches in The Department of Biology and studies the learning dynamic created between students and teachers. She stated that students tend to better assess their thoughts and refine their study skills when they have a genuine interest in their classes and course material and that social media often distracts students, makes them less passionate about their course material, and decreases their metacognitive ability. She also feels that new forms of informal language are evolving and that the barrier between formal and informal language is being blurred in the minds of students (White). Social media is having a negative impact on formal education as it distracts students from their coursework and prevents them from focusing on educational improvement. The informal language used with social media is also being drilled into the hearts and minds of students, who are not always able to separate the formal English they learn in school from the informal language they use online.

Ms. Lassiter, A young African American woman with relatively short, straight, black hair and glasses, is currently teaching English and serves as the academic advisor to juniors at the STEM Early College. She feels that social media, even though it can help with communication, hurts verbal communication skills as students are typing rather than speaking and have difficulty appropriately completing group projects (Lassiter). This is especially true in environments involving students that are struggling with English or where English is their second language. Often, students make use of informal language rather exclusively when not at school and are barely ever given a chance to practice formal English with friends or on social media. If students don’t hear and see formal language on a regular basis outside of school, it can become difficult for them to determine what type of language a situation requires and how that language should be applied.

Ms. Cardwell, An older white woman serving as the student counselor at the STEM Early College, stated in an interview that students tend to write “the same way that they text.” She has noticed that students are becoming less comfortable with face to face communication and are making use of more informal writing both in email correspondences and on written assignments (Cardwell). The use of technology has been responsible for many positive changes in the world, such as the increase in the availability of information and products on a global scale, but has interfered with interpersonal communication. Modern students rarely take time to talk with one another when they are not forced into social situations. Social media decreases the chances that a relationship will properly develop and the information presented through social media can be overwhelming (Cardwell).  Social networking sites allow for the generation of a large network of friends, which a user is likely not close to. If a student has five hundred friends on a social media website and is only close to five percent of those friends, they may end up maintaining twenty five separate relationships. This dilutes one’s focus and prevents the development of a single, meaningful, relationship. This can also provide an overwhelming amount of information, which can distract from more important tasks, such as school work.

Kyle Donaldson, an African American high school student with glasses and red Skull Candy earbuds plugged into his phone, frequently uses social media and texting to communicate with friends in informal situations. He often makes use of “texting words” such as “lol,” “u,” and “gn.” He feels that these terms make it easier to communicate with friends and claims to know when they are and are not appropriate (Donaldson). Maggie Tran, a small, Asian, high school junior with long, straight, black hair, does not use social media on a regular basis and feels that it is distracting and pointless. She is naturally quiet and often keeps to herself, but can be outgoing when she wants to be. She stated that she makes use of online messaging services, such as Google Hangouts and Skype, when working on group projects for school, such as Real World Design Challenge (Tran). Slang terms and acronyms can become incorporated into one’s vocabulary and applied exclusively in informal situations. Some individuals, however, are not able to maintain the separation between formal and informal vocabularies and prefer to avoid excessive use of informal language. Despite these negative attributes, virtual communication does have its place in modern education. Ms. Lassiter stated that she often posts group discussions on Blackboard and requires her students to type all of their essays to expedite the grading process (Lassiter).

Although the long term effects of this change in the structure and function of society are not yet known, it is likely that a large portion of current students will graduate from high school and college institutions with a lowered degree of social ability. This current conditioning of students to make use of technology for communication has decreased their ability to appropriately use formal language, and has restricted their verbal communication experience. Thus, the next generation of verbal and physical professional communicators such as sales representatives, customer service representatives, and retail workers may require a higher degree of training to become proficient in communication with members of society. This is a problem to be tackled in the near future as, in the words of Mr. Bays, “Obviously, the majority of people support this new technology and are willing to deal with the changes it brings” (Bays).


Bays, Samuel. Personal interview. 13 November, 2014.

Cardwell, Susan. Personal interview. 12 November, 2014.

Donaldson, Kyle. Personal interview. 13 November, 2014.

Lassiter, Sharon. Personal interview. 17 November, 2014.

Tran, Maggie. Personal interview. 14 November, 2014.

White, Angela. Personal interview. 12 November, 2014.


Hopefully this makes up for the last post.
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Farewell Master Peeples
If you are a member of my family, please stop reading now, before it’s too late.

*****

WARNING! What you are about to read is my raw, unedited, quickly and emotionally typed, account of, basically, my depressing life over the past few months. It’s not perfect. It’s not good. It’s not logical. It’s not sane. The feelings expressed in this post in no way reflect my current emotional state, which is actually quite happy. Please read on at your own discretion.

*****

I would like to apologize in advance for the length of this story; I am already leaving out tons of details. This post is going to be a little bit, well, far from what I usually blog about. Rather than algorithms, guest speakers, and programs, this post is about thought, mistakes, and pain. The story started some 16 odd years ago when I was born and continued 8 months later with the birth of “Peeples.”

Let me just get this out of the way so I don’t have to be ambiguous through the whole post. Yes, I am a guy and Peeples is a guy, get over it.

But that’s not where I’m going to start. No, I should start where I first met him, or, rather, where he first met me. It was just last year as the beginning of summer break was approaching like a fallen tree inches from touching the ground. I had a busy summer planned out, but I always love a challenge when it finds its way into my peripheral. Our calculus teacher, Mr. Bays, had offered students extra credit for coming in over the summer and woodworking. How does this apply to math? He wanted us to calculate the volume of a lathed piece of wood using a function that approximated the curvature of the wood and what we learned about integrals. By this time, I knew that we wouldn’t receive extra credit for this, but what better way was there to spend the little summer I had than at school with a friend and little to do. I brought in some logs of spruce, pine, and hardwood. With these we lathed a miniature baseball bat for the principle and started on a ball & cup game for Mr. Bays. Due to our choice of splintery wood for this piece, we never had the chance to finish it and its probably still laying somewhere at school. How does this relate to thought, mistakes, and pain? I’m getting there. Another teacher at the school, Mr. Wall, was in school intermittently over the summer and visited with some other teachers to discuss Freshmen Orientation for the following year. My friend and I were in the adjoining room eating lunch, which for me consisted of microwave cream of wheat and grits along with some Kool-Aid made from a canister of mix we found lying around the teachers’ lounge. During my freshman orientation, almost two years prior, I remember being lead around the campus in the blistering heat to visit a list of buildings and collect information for a “scavenger hunt.” I felt that this year could be better. I proposed to Mr. Wall that I could help with the scavenger hunt, to add more order, a better sense of competition, and better use of technology. Because you all know, based upon the title of my blog, that technology is what I’m all about, and genetics, but that’s against the point. Anyway, he gave me to opportunity to propose an idea, so that’s just what I created. I made a plan, to use the QR code readers all students should have on their phones to scan pages at different locations to answer questions and get new directions. How is this any different from before? It is! Don’t question it. But if you must, each group receives a completely different path between checkpoints. Directions are not cryptic and are only given when each challenge is completed. Students can be tracked based upon the points they scan on a monitor by school staff. And, most interestingly, when a puzzle is solved, participants can see what place they are in as a group. Mr. Wall, of course, agreed to let me apply this system, and I started the week long software development process for this tool. It involved a number of components including , the implementation of a number of databases to store group tracking information, tons of php code to get everything working on the server side, a number of webpages to get everything displaying right on mobile browsers, a maintenance and data viewing page for coordinators to view and reset tracking information, the calculate of a bunch of paths that are exactly the same length, creation of location based questions, QR codes to be scanned by participants, a tracking program that shows the locations of participants along their path in real time on a map, and testing to work out the kinks. Everything was perfect. Well, almost everything. There were two small issues. The first was that the campus was under construction which caused the path calculations to be a bit off, to say the least. The second was that I couldn’t be there for the actual event. I had to leave everything in the hands of the teachers and couldn’t fix any issues they may encounter. A few days before the event, I had to leave for California to attend a programming course at Stanford University. That, of course, is where I started this blog. So, I left my home and settled into my California residence. The day of the scavenger hunt back at school was the day of the scavenger hunt in California. We were divided into groups, assigned to a supervisor, and given a cryptic list of locations. After decoding each item, we had to travel there and take our picture performing a particular activity. For instance, we had to act like pandas in front of panda express. Back at school, the mandatory orientation was going on. Peeples was divided into a group and traveled around the campus along a path I had calculated for him and solved some riddles I had made. He didn’t know who I was at the time, let alone that I was the one responsible for this event, and didn’t know who he was, that I was influencing the life of someone I would go on to care so deeply for. In the end, our group of under a dozen students won the scavenger hunt at Stanford out of the hundreds playing and were given muffins as a reward the night before we left to go back home. The hunt back home went well, from what I can gather.

I guess that’s not the first time we met though. I remember, early in the school year, walking by him as he waited for the bus. I just kind of thought in my mind, “There’s that cool, attractive, kid I won’t ever get a chance to know.” But I was wrong. How could I let myself be right? How could I give up without even trying? The first time I remember meeting him was frantic. I was on the afternoon bus for the first time that year, which I didn’t even realize he rode with me, working on a pathfinding algorithm in Minecraft. I realized that we were nearing my stop and was ready to pack up when I looked around and saw him looking over the back of my seat. He surprised me. My mind went completely blank. The next thing I remember, we were at my stop, I was in a state of shock, and he said to me, “Um, I think this is your stop.”

Three of my female friends at school, let’s call them Breech, Bird, and Pity, were the first to learn of my crush. Breech and Bird each had a crush of their own. They gave them codenames but I’ll just call them “Asians.” They also helped give Peeples his nickname, “Peeples.” Breech and Bird knew the 9th grade schedule and would put themselves in places where they would see their Asians. They got caught doing this a few times, but they didn’t stop. They were brave. They followed their Asians on Instagram, liked their posts, continued to stalk. But they refused to make conversation. On occasion, they would be extremely creepy. There was a particular symbol that they would place around where the Asians were with strange notes. “I’m watching you.” I really didn’t want to be this creepy, no offence, so I made the decision to talk with Peeples when I could. Breech and Bird were brave in a different way than I. They were not afraid to risk discovery in their stalking but refused to talk to their Asians. I was ok with talking to him but refused to follow him on Instagram and stalk him in fear of him discovering that I thought of him as more than just a friend.

So, I decided to try to get a bit closer to him rather than continuing to admire him from a distance. I decided that, I could do better. I went through life staying up until three in the morning and being woken up by my mother in the morning. I could do better. I took showers every other day. I could do better. I slept on the bus in the morning. I could do better. I waited until the last minute to do all my assignments. I could do better. I could do better because Peeples deserves better. So I did better. I created a morning routine in which I would be woken up by three alarms and a professional DJ strobe light at 5:45. After this, I would take a tablespoon of coffee grounds straight. Use the restroom, eat cereal with a tablespoon of grass fed cow butter, brush my teeth, and take a tablespoon of coconut oil. I then had a three-step shower routine and would get dressed and ready for school. I struggled with this routine. Whenever I was thinking about giving up and sleeping in, I would remind myself why I was doing it in the first place. I was doing it for Peeples. Prior to this, the only exercise I had was stacking logs with my dad and walking to classes around campus. I decided that I needed more than that, for Peeples of course. I began biking the Yadkin trail every weekend with my brother. In general, I started doing more outside. Zip lining, swimming, climbing trees, using the trampoline. I’m lucky to have the ability to use all of these things in the comfort of my yard. I’m outside right now. How could I waste a nice dreary day inside on my computer when I can simply take my laptop out and swing on my lonely, vaguely pedophilic swing set? (Reference to an Instagram post of mine, which references the movie “The Fault in Our Stars”) I changed myself for him. I have had short hair my entire life, and decided that I would let my hair grow out, for him. That’s how I derived purpose from life. Everything was for Peeples. If I don’t get good grades, I will need to switch schools, and I will be away from Peeples, so I need to do well in school. I need to be at my best every day I see him, so I need to follow my morning routine, however difficult it may be.

I remember one day in particular, our school pep rally. I had arrived at the campus stadium with a few friends and we saw a group of students gathered around where the food was being served. We decided against waiting for food until the line went down, and went up to the bleachers. A friend of mine, we can call him bob, was sitting in the bleachers and I decided to sit next to him. He was working on an online calculus assignment I had completed earlier that day. I decided to help him through some of the problems he was having trouble with. While I was waiting for a submitted answer to be graded, I had looked over the edge of the bleachers and tried to find Peeples in the crowd. He was nearing the front of the line. Bob noticed that I was looking over the edge and asked who I was looking for. I simply answered “A freshman,” and he seemed suspicious. He again asked who and I told him to find the kid in the green jacket. I proceeded to tell him that we were friends, even though we had barely talked up to this point. Bob and I continued to work through his calculus problems. Peeples, meanwhile, had gone through the line and was looking for a seat in the bleachers. Him and his friend walked up the stairs and sat down beside me. I was very surprised. I don’t know why he sat by me. There were so many open areas where he could have sat alone with his friend. Perhaps it was chance. Perhaps he just knew me a little better than he knew everyone else around. It was likely subconscious. It didn’t mean anything to him. But it meant something to me. We greeted one another then I continued helping Bob with his math. I felt like I had the opportunity to, in a way, display my math skills. Although this same line of thinking, displaying my positive properties while neglecting to tend to the person I care about, that lead to the end of one of my previous relationships. There was a bee bothering the students around the bleachers. After it landed near Peebles, he calmly took his knife and cut it in half. I remember thinking that he caught everyone’s attention but, he already had mine. After he had finished eating, he and his friend threw away their trash and found another place to sit higher up on the bleachers. I gave Bob my work for the calculus problems and moved up to where some of my other friends, Bird and Pity, were sitting. Bird was looking for her Asian. I was looking for Peeples.

After everyone had finished eating, we were all moved across the stadium to another area of bleachers. I found Peeples among the crowd and sat directly behind him on the bleachers when we settled down again. Bird and Pity had traveled further up the bleachers to find a spot but came back down when they realized that I wasn’t following them. Students were called down to participate in relay races. I wasn’t particularly interested in the event. Bird and I were messing around a bit. She had placed a clip on me while we were walking to our new seats and I found it as I took off my jacket. I clipped it on to Peeples. He didn’t notice at first. A new event was starting and he was going down to participate. When he reached the bottom of the bleachers, he noticed the clip and took it off. The event was a sack race, although each team only had one sack to share. It didn’t go particularly well. By the end, the sacks had holes torn in them. One of the other teams won, but Peeples decided to go down and back anyways. He seemed excited about it. Pity also participated in a race. Afterwards, we moved back to the fenced in area where the food was served and had a bit of a party. I sat off to the side with a few other students. Peeples walked around the party area for a while then came over by where I was. It was nice. The party ended as the campus band arrived. I moved back inside the fence with the main group while Peeples stayed outside on his own. The band was amazing. I remember the performance being a bit long, but it was great. When the band finished, we were walking back to school as a group. I talked with a few friends for a while but broke away and approached Peeples, who was walking near me on his own. We talked about school, Minecraft, sports. I felt like it was a nice conversation. It had its rough spots. I didn’t plan it. It just happened.

When we got back to school, he went to get his stuff and Bob called me over. He was still suspicious of my “Friendship” with Peeples. I tried to convince him that I could have freshmen friends if I wanted to. Peeples entered the room again. He probably saw us looking over at him and talking. He probably knew we were talking about him. I continued to talk to Peeples after school and on the bus that day.

*****

Some things I would have added if I actually finished this:

More accounts of times we talked and stuffs.

I told Peeples about a terrible thing I did in my past. It was a mistake. It pushed him away. But I was keeping one secret from him and couldn’t bear all the secrecy.

There was an incident where people were talking about him rather loudly and he heard and stuff… I would have to explain it.

He was bullied. He made a Reddit post about it. Yes, I admit it, I’m a stalker. Rawr.

His cat also died. Yah. That was a big thing. I felt his pain. At least I felt I felt his pain. I synthesized pain for myself because he was in pain. I’m a terrible person.

THIS IS A MAJOR THING – I became extremely depressed. I felt his pain. This is going to sound crazy, but whatever. I killed someone in my mind so I could better relate to how Peeples felt. I don’t like lying. I had a rather extensive conversation with a random person on Omegle. http://logs.omegle.com/444d4c3 don’t read it, its embarrassing, just look at the length. Anyway, I stretched the truth a bit in my mind. I forced myself to believe that this Erik was part of my life, which we did talk once, and that he was gone forever, which he was, and that death is painful, which it is. Shh I’m not crazy.

I was going to try to say something along the lines of… I overestimated his ability to care, at lead for me or something, but that’s mean and selfish. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote the note to self “overestimated.”

Back to the story.

*****

It went on like this for a few weeks, making conversation naturally whenever there was a good opportunity. Then I tried noopept. My conversation skills were never good. They are formal. They are forced. I think this may be due to both past experiences and being highly gifted. I thought that I could do better, for Peeples. So I did some research and ordered noopept, an over the counter supplement that has been shown to help ease social anxiety. It is a very hit-or-miss type drug. For me, it missed. I blame this drug for making me go crazy. Before taking it, I was fine, I wasn’t super obsessive, I was just mildly obsessive. Yes, I justified my actions by relating them to Peeples, but I didn’t contemplate what I would say to him next every second of every day. That’s just what I did while on noopept. One of the side effects is depression. I felt that. Of course, it wasn’t all noopept’s fault, it was extremely situational.

I started thinking about what I was going to talk to him about in my free time. I made lists of topics, thought of responses, went over every detail he gave me when we talked. Like a crazy person. I planned entire conversations and rehearsed them with friends until I had them memorized. I played conversation like a game that you can beat through careful planning and practice. I treated Peeples like a game, and it wasn’t right.

In our conversation, I was able to arrange for us to play Minecraft together. I got his Skype and asked what he wanted to play. I then dusted off my old server files, updated to the latest snapshot, and looked for a place in the server that would fit how he wanted to play. I found the perfect spot. It was breathtaking. The convergence of a mesa bryce, roofed forest, and a plains biome, all with a nice river running down the center and a perfectly sized island from which we could emerge from the caves. I wish you could see it. I planned on surprising Peeples by digging to the island before he joined the server. But he joined a day earlier than I had expected, and we ended up digging there together. It was fine; it was just a bit of a painful process. A boring job that I didn’t want him to have to take part in. But he did. There were some issues. But we made it in the end. We emerged from the ground to see the beautiful new world. When asked whether it was worth it, I believe he responded “totes.” We proceed to make a little elevated platform in the mesa and fought off monsters. There were two large towers by the platform that he decided he didn’t like and we took them down together. We played around for a bit, then he had to leave. It was way past when I was supposed to sleep, to get up early for him of course, but I decided to stay up a while longer and write him a note. I don’t remember what it was about, probably something situational. But I tried my hardest to stuff it with references in hope that he would find out that I liked him on his own accord, so I didn’t have to tell him. I felt guilty carrying secrets. We played like this for about a while. I would continue to write notes every night, give him hints in conversation, but he never talked to me about it. When I brought up more personal topics he would fall more silent. I wasn’t really playing Minecraft. I was playing Peeples. I treated Peeples like a game, and it wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t right. So, logically, I had to make it right, right? I had to tell him how I felt. I had to.

It was a Friday. It was sunny. It was calm. It was the coldest day of the week. It was nice. I was going to tell him. I had to tell him. Not telling him was destroying my life. I wanted it to happen. I couldn’t let it not happen. I had to make sure it would happen. In the morning, I was waiting for Mr. Miller to show up so I could ensure that he would allow me time with Peeples when he was in his class. Mr. Miller, however, was away. He was in DC with a group of students for a school project. I knew that Mr. Vaughn had a free period during that class and would watch the class if there was no substitute. If there was a substitute, I may have had a problem. I talked with Mr. Bays and Mr. Vaughn that morning but neither knew whether a substitute was attending. Mr. Bays assured me that he could get Peeples out of class if there was a substitute. I went to my classes for the day. When I came back, the lobby was being decorated for a party. The tables and chairs were removed. This was a problem. Where would I bring him? I had to do it that day. I couldn’t let it go any longer. So I decided to do it in the dead hallway outside of Mr. Bays’ old room. A hallway which I have many fond memories of. I remember having my picture taken there by griffin. Playing mouse wheel kickball with Bird. Having people dance for use on Omegle. Being cornered by Bird, Breech, and Trees (another female friend) and interrogated. It was a nice place. A place that made me comfortable with its bleak walls, slanted floor, three exits, and dim light coming in through a one-way door with a glass window. It was a place, in the formal world that is my college campus, in which I did not have any educational memories. Bringing him there meant a lot to me. Even though he didn’t know it. Things were stacked against me that day. Screaming at me to not do it. But I ignored them. I had to. And I did. I talked with Mr. Bays. He talked with the substitute. Things were falling into place. It was time. He wasn’t in the classroom. No one in his class was. The class was moved to another room. The universe was trying to tell me not to do it. But I had to do it. And I did. I went up to the room class was being held in. I’m pretty sure Peeples knew I was there to get him. The substitute didn’t even care that I took him. We walked down the hallway a ways. It was silent. It was painful. I asked him if he knew what I wanted to talk to him about. He tried to guess. He didn’t guess right. As we were walking, I told him that he was my Limerent object. Of course, he didn’t know what that meant. But it’s what he was, to me. I stopped talking. I waited until we arrived at the dead hallway. I asked him again if he was sure he didn’t know what I wanted to talk about. I don’t see how he couldn’t have known something was up.

*****

This is where I basically stopped with the main story. So, what happens, in a nutshell, so you can understand the conclusion part? Well,

I told him,

He basically said that it didn’t change anything,

I move away from him because I know in my heart I destroyed our little friendship,

He offers me a hug,

I walk him back to class,

We talk later on Skype,

It was too soon, but I got personal and sent him a sad poetic thing I wrote, like how I would have broken it to him if I did it online, which would be a mean thing to do, not that there are rules in love and war, it’s just good to tell people things to their face rather than not telling them to their face,

I felt like we had a little moment with each other,

We went skating that night with some other peoples,

I remembered talking about how, and I was going to incorporate this in a way, that I told a friend that telling Peeples was the hardest thing I did, skating was second, and my math test was third, little did I know that another thing was impending that would blow all of those things out of the water,

I wasn’t the most talkative with Peeples,

I remember the last time he was inquisitive about me… the last question he asked “So, what’s the coconut oil for,”

I remember not answering well, because skating was hard,

I fell six times in three hours,

I took off my skates and returned them; Peeples had left at this point,

I called my parents and they were on the way,

The car arrived,

I went outside,

I opened the door,

I got in,

It was silent,

Then I knew,

They knew,

My parents had read my Skype messages,

They like interrogated me while they had me trapped in the car,

It was terrible,

They wanted me to see a therapist,

They said they couldn’t trust me,

They were going to shut off the internet,

Take away the little freedom I have,

I couldn’t trust them,

In a few days, they decided to let me do whatever I wanted,

The damage was already done,

One of the major sources of social anxiety, for me, is due to me not feeling like I deserve to be happy or informal or outside of perfect,

I’ve done some terrible things in the past,

From rape and kinda incest to fights and almost murder (They recovered),

I feel like I don’t deserve to express myself,

To be care-free,

With my parents, I had a degree of innocence and felt like I could be a little more open around them,

Not anymore,

Anyway, I went on to write Peeples a like 3000 word message in which I literally listed reasons for him to hate me,

I was still on noopept,

Now I’m not,

Since then, for the most part, he has been ignoring me and I have been ignoring him,

He did write me a note and hid it in Minecraft,

I found it by accident,

It read:

“Andrew,

If you ever find this, I’m sorry. I can’t handle the amount of preassure you have put on me when you told me. I find it awkward to be around you now. I’m glad that you told me, But I think it was for the best that we stay away from each other until you get over yourself. I know you will understand, that is why I am leaving this message far away, hoping you will find it. I am sorry for what I cant give you. I hope that soon you will get over me and never find this. Someday, in the near future, you will find it and it will let you know how I feel about you. Have a great day Andrew. Tomorrow awaits for you.

<3

-Peeples [Name Replaced]

November 16, 2014

2:14 pm

Until then, I won’t be playing minecraft with you for a while,”

So that happened,

That day was hard for me,

Ever since, I have been like quantum entangled with skating,

I have gone rollerblading at least every other day since then,

I rollerbladed for at least five hours today alone,

It gives me time to think,

It forces fluid, organic movement,

I really like it,

And it’s carved into my very being now,

I’m sure it’s just a phase,

Anyway, that’s was my week so far,

Blading all day, all night, in the rain, in the sun,

Jamming to beats like Take Me to Church, Animals, and Sexy Back,

Wow. My life has changed. Justin Timberlake sung sexy back!? What! This changes my entire childhood bus life,

Writing this, but I’m done with that,

I don’t know what the future holds,

I gave up on writing this when I came to the realization that, if I don’t feel like people care about me, the least I can do is show the people around me that I care about them. Focusing all my time and energy into a frickin pointless obsession isn’t helping me, isn’t helping Peeples, and isn’t helping all the people around me,

It’s five in the morning, and I’m out, peace.

This could easily have been a 20 page post rather than a 10 page post

I backtrack a little here…

*****

For the past few weeks, I have been avoiding him. It’s more of a subconscious fear of being around him. I’m not trying to avoid him. Now that he knows and he is not okay with it, I can’t be comfortable when he is around, not that I ever could be. I get stuck in a state of wondering what’s going on in his mind. Is he thinking about me? There is one time that I distinctly remember running from him. It was lunch and he decided to go somewhere on campus down by Starbucks and the food truck. I was talking with Bird and Breech. They were obsessing over their remaining Asian. I gave them a few suggestions about how they could be even creepier. My mother had arrived and I was about to grab my backpack and leave when I noticed Peeples was about to enter the building through the main entrance, around where my stuff was. I ran over, grabbed my belongings, and hurried back to the side door to avoid him. I also remember a time when I feel as though he was directly avoiding me. I was sitting in the lobby and he sat in one of the only places blocked from my line of sight by a pole. I don’t blame him. Earlier that day I feel like he saw me annotating a printed conversation with the other participant’s name blacked out. He probably thought that it was one of my conversations with him, which it wasn’t. It was about him, though, and I did ask the other participant if I could print it and bring it to my therapist, with any personal information removed of course. Perhaps this is what lead Peeples to act the way he did last night, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

I’ve been able to make it work with four girls and five guys in the past, and I guess I just thought I had a chance of making it work this time. One of the main differences I see between him and others is time. The only chance I had to talk with him was on the bus. We never had a chance to get close. We weren’t in any classes together, we didn’t attend any of the same after school activities, we were never alone together. I got to know him better than he knew me. I thought about him a lot. Rather than being around each other and getting tired of information about him, I would seek it in my free time. It was a one-sided relationship, a one-sided love.

If I could do it over again, would I? No. What happens is for the best. It makes me sad. But it is for the best. He doesn’t know who I really am inside. I don’t know who he really is. But what I now know, and what I have been struggling to deal with over the past few weeks, is that we can never be friends again. I really don’t see it happening. I have been telling myself this since he started avoiding me. But it only really hit me last night. I went on skype to see if he changed his mood, like a creepy person, and I noticed something strange about his online status symbol. It was grey. I went into my options and looked through the available online status symbols and didn’t see a grey one. It was late at night and I was tired, but I moved closer to the screen to take a better look at the symbol and realized it had a question mark in it. It started to hit me. I read the text where his mood should be and it read “This person has not shared their details with you.” It hurt. He removed me from his contacts. All the painful emotions I had been getting over rushed back. I was deeply hurt. I realized that, it’s over. Whatever we had, or I thought we had, or I thought we might have some chance of having if the stars aligned, was gone. I cried that night, but not for him, for me. I hated the world. Some terrible thoughts went through my mind. What should I do? How should I respond? Who is going to die? It was the end of the world. It was the end.

What now?
Peeples, if you are reading this, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for you. I liked you a lot, and I think some of those feelings for you will never go away. Yes, you hurt me more than anyone else in this world, but I asked for it. You, on the other hand, never asked for any of this. I’m sorry for going crazy and creeping you out and making you run away. I’m sorry if this creeps you out, but I needed some closure regarding the whole thing, because you never gave it. I just wish you could be a little more honest about how you feel. I wish you could tell me to my face that you never want to talk to me again. You gave me hope. Then you took it away. And you still never gave me that hug.

Post removed due to em-BEAR-rassing content. There is still a way to read the original post if you try real hard. :)

My Alienware Laptop

Over the past year, I have experienced a number of issues with my new Alienware M14X laptop. I am currently enrolled in classes at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and use my laptop on a daily basis to give presentations, complete assignments, and access study material between classes.

One of the main issues with my Alienware is its weight. The laptop is over three times as heavy as the material that I require for all my daily classes. Maneuvering this device, packing materials, and unpacking components in a limited time frame is extremely difficult and inconvenient in the classroom setting. When making use of my laptop during a class, I remove the device from my bag and open it where it proceeds to turn on and produce a loud whirring sound.

I also have issues with the trackpad and require a mouse to properly operate my device. At times, the trackpad will allow for the slow movement of the mouse, especially lower on the component, but can cause vast cursor displacement. This sporadic behavior makes the trackpad almost unusable. The issue seems similar to one discussed by the article titled “MacBook Pro Problems: Apple acknowledges keyboard and trackpad issues – fix inbound” by Luke Johnson. In this case, Apple provided users with a procedure to deal with the issues when encountered and released a free hardware solution for all affected users.

I am focusing my studies on Biomedical Science and spend most of my time between classes in the Smith Hall lobby, which contains a wall of glass letting large amounts of light into the building. This sunlight causes problems with the screen of my computer as I am required to tilt the screen back and forth in search of an orientation which allows for the possible, but still strenuous, viewing of text and images. While in the lobby at Smith Hall and other public spaces, fingerprints, dust, hair, skin collection, and other impurities are clearly visible and cause the device to appear neglected.

During my free time, I often play games such as Minecraft and League of Legends. My home computer, which has less ram and a lower Windows Experience Index, achieves significantly more frames per second when running both games and I often have trouble with some keys not being registered when pressed on my Alienware laptop. This frame rate issue is discussed by Matthew Murray in his “Alienware M14X R2” review. The rubber cord junction protector on the base of the charger has also ripped due to the recommended wrapping of my power cord for storage. The charger, when prepared for storage, does not fully coil as a portion of wire remains too short to be wrapped again while still protruding inconveniently from the charger. The rubber cord fastener attached to the charger comes in contact with the ground when in use and collects dust and dirt and must be cleaned before the cord is fastened.

I purchased from Alienware expecting a reliable, high quality, product, but received a disappointing laptop that makes completing computer work a chore. I have contacted Dell customer service regarding a number of issues, including the trackpad behavior and low frame rate, but was unable to acquire solutions or even talk to a qualified representative. Please contact me with any means through which I can resolve my issues and prevent further laptop related distress. I am questioning my decision to pay the extra price for a better brand name when it is not living up to its reputation.

Programming Collision Detection in a Grid Confined Environment

Note: If you are confused at any point please refer to the examples included in the presentation (bottom of post)

Collision detection, a quite complicated yet essential component in almost all side scrolling video games, can be made easier through the application of a few simple guidelines. In many collision detection systems, objects are coded in such a way that they jump to a new location and force themselves out of any solid objects they encounter. This works well in most cases requiring variable angles and open spaces but usually causes considerable amounts of collision rounding when dealing with high speeds or the sharp corners created in a grid confined environment. For example, an object five pixels from the edge of a solid block may fall down ten pixels, into the block, and push away in the most efficient manner, which would result in a collision miscalculation as the object expels through the side of the block rather than skipping back to the top. Another form of collision detection to avoid is contact oriented iterative collision detection. This type of collision detection records the position of each object before movement and tests for collidable materials touching the new location. In this case, the object should revert to its original location and step increasingly close to its destination until it collides with a solid object. This will return a somewhat precise collision position after a number of taxing calculations which could quickly destroy the performance of even the most optimized games. The best form of collision detection to utilize in a grid restricted environment involves determining whether collisions occur on each axis separately and positioning the object on the border of new solid cells. By calculating the axes individually, objects have the ability to slide smoothly over a surface on the x axis while collisions interact with blocks below due to the pull of gravity. In this process, an object checks for a change in grid position on each axis based upon its forward edge. If grid movement took place and solid blocks exist in front of the object on that axis, the object must shift to the edge of the new cells.


Examples can be found in the presentation linked to below:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1A9VCO-PMkBgiZHcafpg69DlkpO9fn4VPmSpUPfaoj6M/edit?usp=sharing

Guest Speaker – Sebastian Alvarado

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Sebastian Alvarado took the time to speak to our class yesterday. He started Thwacke, a consulting company that takes projects, such as a video game or movie, and determines what the science behind the work would be or suggest ways to make it more scientifically accurate. Thwacke has also started production of a game called cell that will accurately simulate the life of a cell as it becomes cancer – like and attempts to spread through the other cells. Some projects that Thwacke has worked on in the past are the superheros Ant Man and Captain America. Sebastian Alvarado has been researching ants and found a way to shrink and enlarge them. This research helps to back up Ant Man with real scientific research. He also worked on an explanation for the Super-Serum and the mutations of Hulk. Thank you for taking the time to visit our class Sebastian!

Guest Speaker – Jay Silver

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During class today we were given the opportunity to speak with Jay Silver and his brother Beau Silver over Google Hangouts. Jay Silver is the creator of MaKey MaKey, a device which lets everyday objects interface with your computer. He talked to us about his inspiration for making his project. He had seen people take keyboards and solder wires on them to make physical buttons. He felt that there should be an easier way to receive interaction from the environment. He also talked about how he got into the MIT Media Lab. Thank you Jay and Beau Silver for taking the time to talk to our class!

Guest Speaker – Brandon Tearse

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Last week Brandon Tearse spoke to our class regarding Google internships. He was an intern himself at Google before he was hired as a full time employee working with music. He gave us tips and advice regarding internships at Google and other technology associated companies. He emphasized the importance of computer knowledge but also the ability to work well in groups and communicate effectively. He said that Google offers a large number of internships in California with about one intern for every ten employees. He also talked about the three types of internships. The first type is the one that takes on the first project offered to them and works on it alone for the duration of the internship. This type of person may succeed in creating there project but is considered unsuccessful because they did not communicate effectively with others to help improve the quality of the project. The second type of intern is the kind that is frantic and worries about getting projects done but never really completes anything. The third type of intern is the kind that finds a project they are passionate about and collaborates with other people to make a successful product. I am extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to speak with Brandon Tearse and am thankful that he took the time to see our class!