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?