Being Alone Together. Has Technology Created This for You?

“As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it”

“Turkle argues that the social media we encounter on a daily basis are confronting us with a moment of temptation. She maintains that drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we confuse postings and online sharing with authentic communication. We are drawn to sacrifice conversation for mere connection.

After listening to Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk I find myself much less concerned about technology than she is.

I’m not sure that anything is really different now with text messaging, internet, robots . ..

The sense of being alone and looking for SAFE connection has been around since I’ve walked this planet. I’ve talked to pets, stuffed animals.  How is that different from talking to a robot?

I’ve spent many an evening of “togetherness” with friends sitting  in a dark movie theatre or in a noisy restaurant,  places where intimate conversation was impossible. How is that different from “finding  the illusion of companionship without the intimacy” through technology?

Again, I disagree with Turkle when she describes how we “clean up” our images, thoughts and feelings through technology.  I think that not much has changed with our fear of intimacy. Technology just makes it faster, more expensive and convenient  to avoid it.
Turkle is a professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.”

7 thoughts on “Being Alone Together. Has Technology Created This for You?

  1. I have to talk mostly by email or text…and I used to hate that, but now since I can’t hear, it’s useful….to say the least.

    I do have a lot of “friends” on line who I care about. I have often wondered if I met those same people in person would we be friends? some I think yes….some I don’t know..and some probably not. But the friendship we have now is important.
    Many of these friendships are because we share something that is rare, and we need support in that area (unfortunately that’s often illness). I can’t find a support group near me with others who have what I do, so the support I’ve found on line has been very important.

    Yes, real life people and relationships are important. right now I will admit they are hard….going from hearing to not hearing is hard on people…and well things have changed a lot.
    so I need to make new real life relationships….I’m just at a loss as to how.

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  2. I must agree with Rick, since the only way I talk to my daughter when I need to call her is through text messaging (which by the way I hate). We have 3 granddaughters 2 of whom only text never answering their phone. I think the gene X has an entirely different idea what the social manners are.
    At this point I do need to admit maybe we just don’t understand that this is the new social manners of the future. It does bother me when the family is together and we all are either on the computer, Droid, Ipad, or the Kindle Fire. Thus we have implemented a game board Sunday. Where we all sit down and either play real cards or a good ole fashion Milton Bradley Game: Janga, ole fashion Scrabble, ThinkBlot, even the game of Life with the little blue and pink pegs and the minivan. I have to say when Monopoly went and now has a different banking system, I was disappointed. I digress…bottom line is, I suppose we baby boomers need to adjust to the future way of commutation and knowledge available or we will be left behind. Kind of like when our grandparents had to chop wood and work on the farm going to the city once a month because they didn’t have a car.
    Yes my friends I think the proper word is PROGRESS! I still feel we need to instill to Gene X the standards of old fashion social behavior, it is after all where we began.

    Miracle Mom.

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  3. First..welcome back.. happy to see you here… in spite of thousands of miles and miles in between, I feel connected..Judy..

    I have seen people sitting together and yet alone in their own ways.. I have found people sitting alone…and yet have a warmth and smile as if someone is cuddled in their arms…

    Yes, one would like to meet people one likes in person at least once…but then technology has brought people together because it helps uninhibited sharing which actually gives meaning to a relationship…well we all live from our reality..Sherry may be living from hers…

    Hope things are fine and well with you..Judy.. RS:)

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  4. I think it’s a different kind of communication. People actually “say” things in email or on the internet they would never say to the person’s face. In a way, it’s more brutal honesty but less intimate connective honesty. I have made connections with many people over the computer I would have never met in real life. However, my internet friends are not my only social contacts. There is something rewarding in face to face, in person, relationships.

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  5. The Shallows by Nicholas Carr suggests that technology through the ages (from cave writing, to the printing press to telegraph through phones and now digital communication) may actually be changing the way our brains work, seek and process information. From spoken word to Google and now instantaneous need for consumable bits of information our knowledge has grown wider but perhaps less deep in a world where instant information is seemingly available. Is generation X (or millenials or whatever the buzz word is) less personally connected? The evidence from these 61 year old eyes suggest it may be so…

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    1. Rick,
      Now that you are almost 62 it’s apparent you are not only older but wiser.
      There is a mechanism in the brain that keeps track of time and will accommodate to changing time elements. Does Carr speak of other areas of the brain?
      P.S. I had 3 Crispy Creams today. One was free right off the assembly line!

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