As part of the Session 6 lecture (which you can find here), we were tasked with watching two “TED Talks”. The second and last of these talks that I watched was “Connected, but alone?” by Sherry Turkle.
In this talk, Turkle makes a case for technology changing our lives for the worse. Turkle is a psychologist who specialises in psychoanalysis and human-technology interaction.
The first point that Turkle makes is that technology has enabled situations that would have been seen only a short time ago as unacceptable, scary and/or odd. Over time, usage of a device has become familiar. People text and e-mail during meetings and whilst working, will text and e-mail whilst talking to their children at the dining room table or in the lounge. People even use Facebook during social scenarios.
I know myself that I have done this on several occasions and really is something we ought to avoid as we are removing ourselves from company with other people and into our own little world.
Turkle takes this a little further by stating that by doing this, you’re basically hiding from each other. Turkle uses an example of a worker who told Turkle that he doesn’t feel like he has colleagues anymore at work. He doesn’t talk to anybody and doesn’t call anybody and this is because he doesn’t want to interrupt people because they’re too busy with their e-mails. He then interrupts himself and states that “I’m not telling you the truth. I’m the one who doesn’t want to be interrupted. I feel like I should, but actually, I’d rather just do things on my BlackBerry”.
Another thing that Turkle mentioned that I think resonates with me is that we expect more from technology and less from each other. Turkle believes this because technology appeals most to us where we are most vulnerable. Technologies like Facebook and Twitter give us the illusion of having a voice where previously we may not have had one, say for instance if we didn’t have any friends and had a lack of social skills (learning difficulties such as Aspergers Syndrome, for example). However, without learning the basics of communication and social interaction, the use of these technologies could seriously impact your already limited communication and social skills.
- Does Using Smart Phones and Social Media Mean We Talk Less? (shoretelsky.com)
- Our smartphones could be costing us our personalities (smartsign.com)