Bring Us Souvenirs from Paris! Part Deux

Tonight’s cancellation of class brings you Part 2 of my two-part blog series based on an out-of-class assignment.  You can find Part 1 here.  My two articles look at social media and distraction, but from two different perspectives.  The research article I cite in Part 1 discusses the levels of distraction during study time, whereas this article considers distraction to be a bit more useful….

My second intriguing article (from 2014 and unrelated to my field of research) is a qualitative study on how social media can help you quit smoking:  A Mobile App Offering Distractions and Tips to Cope with Cigarette Craving.

Quitting smoking? There's an app for that.

Quitting smoking? There’s an app for that.

The authors (Ploderer, et al.) designed and piloted a mobile app designed to distract quitters who are suffering cravings.  Appropriately named “DistractMe,” the app offers tips for distractions, as well as coping mechanisms for quitting; the latter was found to be more popular amongst the 14 participants.

My dad quit smoking around 5 years ago using nicotine gum.  He still chews it religiously and still suffers cigarette cravings, so I will definitely be recommending him something like this app — a recommendation it is likely he will promptly ignore even while acknowledging it is a good idea for an app.  Even so, I’m sure there are those who would find an app of this sort to be a helpful stop-smoking aid (as further evidenced by this list on

Skyping Research

This semester, I have been doing something I’ve never done before.  …  Actually, I have been doing a lot of novel somethings this semester, but as that is the overarching topic of most of this blog, I will be more specific:  I have been Skyping.

I downloaded the video conferencing and messaging app on my laptop/tablet (or as I refer to it, my laptab) earlier this year when I found out I was moving to Indiana to attend Purdue.  It was actually my dad’s idea, so we could keep in touch.  It wasn’t until September that I finally used the app, though — and I didn’t Skype with my family.  I Skyped with my professor from The University of Alabama (yes, the “The” is supposed to be capitalized because apparently some higher-up decided “the University of Alabama” was too generic; it should be The University of Alabama).

But over the summer, I started a research project with my professor, Dr. Seigfried-Spellar (aka Dr. Kate), a project that was not completed by the time I got ready to leave Alabama.  However, we have been able to continue our research together because of Skype.  Each week, on Friday morning, we have a Skype meeting and go over our data, running analyses and figuring out what it tells us.  This is much better than a simple phone call for a couple of reasons: 1) Skype is free, so neither one of us has to worry about using up all our phone minutes during our typically hour-long meetings, and 2) Skype’s video conferencing capability allows for a virtual face-to-face meeting; because I have two laptops, I can angle the one running Skype so that Dr. Kate can see the data on SPSS, which I run on my larger laptop.  This has enabled us to continue our research, which I will be presenting at the ACJS conference in Orlando in March of next year.



Along with these weekly meetings, I have also Skyped with a couple of my friends from home a few times.  I was able to show off my new apartment and mad decorating/crafting skills, and more importantly, I was able to actually see my friends.  A phone conversation is great, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a live-streaming video must be worth a million.