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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Richey

Embracing the Technology-Driven Chaos

It seems that technology is making the world spin faster and faster, but not everyone can process the chaos it unleashes. Some are strapped in for the ride, anxious but opportunistic towards its inevitable disruption, and some try, in vain, to fight against the rate of acceleration or believe that the ever-faster technology is not necessary for daily operations. Dealing with chaos is often uncomfortable and stressful– humans are not hardwired to manage information overload– but the most successful individuals can find clarity in the chaos. This perspicuity does not mean they ignore chaos entirely, for refusing to realize departure means getting left behind, but they create coping mechanisms and adaptive strategies to expand their capacity for new technologies. In my life, one of the most apparent forms of chaos has been the convergence and symbiosis of technology and media, respectively, but instead of resisting progressive change and pushing back against uncertainty, I have continuously embraced the latter as the new normal, letting it carry me forward through life. Instead of processing chaos as a way to survive, I manage it as a way to evolve.

It is getting progressively tricky to remember when technology was not a part of my life in some shape or form, but I can at least identify its transition from a mode of connectivity and leisure to an extension of my work, entertainment, and self. Different media used to serve different purposes, and individuals dedicated each medium to a specific experience, but the rapid digitization of society necessitated something even more convenient. At some point, the experiences of my flip phone (communication), iPod Touch (entertainment), Barbie CD player (music), J-14 magazines (news), and Dell computer (information) were assembled into a single entity. In her book Media: From Chaos to Clarity: Five Global Truths That Make Sense of a Messy Media World, Judy Franks calls this “coming together of platforms,” that was once “separate and distinct,” “convergence” (Franks 32). Today, all those technological capabilities, and their concomitant social responsibilities, fit in the palm of my hands in my twelfth-generation iPhone.

As intuitive as this transformation seems, my pre-teenage self felt the chaos of trying to transfer all my contacts from a Blackberry to an Apple phone, upload music from CDs to iTunes, consolidate news and entertainment on a digital device, and so forth. The fear of social exclusion upheld by digital difference motivated me to step out of my technological comfort zone and embrace a technology (the Apple iPhone 3G) that tech giants had set to change again, barely a year later. This adaptation to the chaos was simply reactive– a way to survive and stay relevant in the ever-shifting technological landscape. Now, as a media student and a soon-to-be social media marketer, it is vital to learn how to evolve out of and thrive in this chaos.

In middle school, I had a surprisingly generous Twitter following. When Instagram first launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing network, I felt conflicted about whether I could gain the same engagement on Instagram as on Twitter and whether Instagram would make Twitter irrelevant, or vice versa would happen. I eventually joined because of the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), but I still could not comprehend how two media forms could coexist for the same purpose of self-expression without one disrupting the other. Building a brand on social media felt extremely chaotic until I encountered a “frenemy” of mine growing concurrently on Instagram and Twitter. This realization spurred by competition was my first encounter with what Franks called “symbiosis,” which is when “emerging media… align themselves with existing media to create mutually beneficial, working relationships” (Franks 33). Though she was not directly referring to media established within four years of each other, or even media across the same platform (social), this truth still helps me retrospectively clear the chaos from my media experiences. Now, I am an established fashion and lifestyle brand across platforms, and I continue to utilize various forms of media for my success, even with social itself– the algorithms, interface, and success metrics– continuously evolving.

Of course, it is human nature to crave order and stability, but I constantly tell myself that change is the only consistency in our lives. Change begets change; stasis lacks creativity, innovation, and excitement. The people resisting change are often people of privilege perceiving change as “a loss of their control, privilege, and power” (Feldt 2019). Technology-driven chaos has positively affected me because it has taught me to be flexible, collaborative, and inclusive. It is unproductive to constantly worry about the future; instead, we would be better served to direct our intentions toward shaking people out of their resistant ways of thinking about technology. I see technology-driven chaos as an opportunity to confront established ways of doing things, such as revolutionizing social media marketing, one of the most under-valued roles in marketing. The growing attention towards social channels as a viable marketing and communication medium underpins a more extensive cultural adaptation to an incredibly disruptive technology, and the chaos surrounding this changing media landscape is something I am more than ready to confront.

Works Cited

Feldt, Gloria. “How Technology Brings Chaos and Opportunity for Women to Disrupt, Innovate, Create.” Take The Lead, 3 Oct. 2019,

Franks, Judy Ungar. Media: From Chaos to Clarity: Five Global Truths That Make Sense of a Messy Media World. Marketing Democracy, 2011.

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