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Does Your Cell Phone Rule Your Life? Staying Connected in the US

This week's Question of the Week came to us from our friends at Digital Frontiers. They wanted to know what technology and devices you use each day. Are you tied to your BlackBerry or texting from your Nokia? Do you update Facebook multiple times a day or play games online? Do you wish you were more wired or less?

And most importantly, what can you expect in the U.S.? Will you be ahead of the curve or behind compared to your American classmates?

We asked our bloggers how their relationship to technology and their gadgets has changed since coming to the U.S. They talk about what's different between where they grew up and America, and what bad habits they've picked up when it comes to their connectedness:

Sebastian Sanchez
I can affirmatively say that at least in Bolivia and America people are pretty much the same when is about having “gadgets” or being involved on the “tech trends.” ... But there are still some differences among countries, mostly related to economic factors.

For example, in Bolivia cellphones, and hardware in general, are overall more expensive than in America and for that reason far less people are used to having fancy phones like iPhones or Blackberrys. But on the other hand, services are usually cheaper. One big difference is the mobile companies, in Bolivia talking is not really expensive, as opposed to America, and talking and texting in a phone is almost the same price.

In America people are used to texting a lot and not talking that much. At the beginning I was really slow at texting and I was picked on by my American friends because of that, but after a while I am as fast at that as any other college student.

When it comes to computers, since they are more expensive, people in Bolivia are used to using the same one for many years or some people have to go to internet stands to use one because they can’t buy one.

But overall I wouldn’t say there is much difference. In my case, I was already “plugged” before coming to America, and being here didn’t help me “cutting the cord.”

Alex Busingye

In just five months, I have become addicted to my 4G EVO, I take my laptop everywhere. I am on the go streaming live games, doing research while making conversation on Facebook. I used to talk too much, now I tweet too much.

There is no question about it; the technological climate in America has changed the way I communicate. I have evolved a bionic relationship with technology. Whether it’s good or bad for me? Am yet to find out, at this rate, who stops to wonder?

Nareg Seferian
I guess a lot of the various digital revolutions spearheaded by Google, Wikipedia, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter have made it to Armenia not too long after their launch. But the usage of computers and the internet in daily life - and smartphones now, and other such cool gadgets - is still not the norm back there.

So it's definitely interesting to see how people drive around with telephones which can tell them where to go, for example. I guess men will no longer not roll down their windows to ask for directions, but they'll not consult their GPS devices instead.

Technology doesn't have much place yet at St. John's College, though, where we have a traditional education centered around reading books. Nobody would ever bring a computer to class, and someone who did so once was given grief for it. In fact, we are currently in the midst of a discussion among our students and faculty on our position on e-readers.

I think the clearest difference, however, is that many in the U.S. have grown up with video games and have had e-mail or online profiles at a very young age. Maybe that's the way all societies are headed, but for now, I feel that the way the internet is used in daily life or for work or academics is definitely still a novelty in many parts of the world.

So, how do you think you would compare with American or international classmates when it comes to your connectedness? What devices rule your life?