Connected, but alone?

I recently watched a TED talk, which I borrowed my title from, concerning the affect of social media on community and relationships. In this talk Sherry Turkle explores how the technologies we use are changing how we interact with each other and creating a world where we are connected more than ever but also alone more than ever. The talk is linked below but I want to focus on one quote from her talk in particular. While speaking with teenage students one boy told Turkle, “someday, someday, but certainly not now, I would like to learn to have a conversation…”

This simple statement makes me fearful of what our future may hold. As Turkle puts it, we participate in  “The illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” The simple art of holding a conversation is apparently now something that teenagers have to learn. I’m sure the same teenager and millions of more like him can text, tweet and facebook without restraint but rarely hold a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, as a macbook and iphone using consumer I love technology but at what cost is it becoming integrated into our daily lives? In college it wasn’t uncommon for a couple of my friends to exclaim, “Be here!” whenever someone whipped out their cell phone to check facebook/twitter/other social media forums. That’s the cry of this post. Be where you are. Talk to the people in the room with you without your phone or computer in between. Invest in them by conversing. Who knows what could happen?

Let’s start the conversation. How do you navigate the use of technology while maintaining relationships? What do you do to actively forgo technology in order to be present where you’re at?

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2 thoughts on “Connected, but alone?

  1. I think that the art of conversation is something that we all have to learn at some point. I’m not sure that I single out young people or teenagers in this issue, but I do understand that they are probably the most affected. Social media is incredibly addicting and if left unchecked, can cripple even the most charasmatic of us. I would say that “Practice makes perfect”, but i’ve never really belived that, I think that that it is more along the lines of “Puposeful practicing creates a necessary foundation to use skills appropriately” (but I suppose that doesn’t really role off of the tongue). I think that if you start believe that social media is the equivelant of conversation than you begin to cripple your ability to have meaningful converstaion in a face to face situation, and that happens to all of us, not just teenagers. That being said I comletely see you point Jarred that if the skill has never been practiced or used, that creates a much larger problem for that person, and when the problem is affecting an entire generation… well…not good.

    I don’t really have an answer to the problem, but I suppose keeping myself in order is square one.

    Actually I don’t think any of this matters because I have it on good authority that within 10 years we will all have surrogate bodies and will never have to leave our houses.

    • I’m not sure what happened with my name there. But that is definitley my password, so please, no body use that to post strange blogs under an alias of me…..

      -Markus

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