Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Connected, Illusions of Friendship, and the Lost Art of Conversation

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA
The Joker sent me a thought-provoking TED lecture by Sherry Turkle. She discusses the decline of conversations and the lack of face-to-face interaction.

How will this new-found addiction to being connected will affect our culture?

Is FOMO (acronym for Fear Of Missing Out) really fucking shit up for humanity?

We're already seeing it now. Next time you go out to eat somewhere, look at the closest four-top. How many people have their phones out? How many tables are having actual conversations? How many tables are multi-tasking with interacting in a real conversation, but while holding the phones and staying connected simultaneously?

"We expect more from technology and less from each other," said Turkle.

The machines are becoming our saviors. At this point, we have to program machines care about us. The lack of intimate interaction has really created millions of lonely people overnight. They don't realize what's happening. We're losing the ability to have real conversations. Places like Twitter foster bursts of micro-information. But they limit to what you can say. In one way, Twitter made me think more like Hemingway (less is more). But at the same time, I naturally rebel to anything that forces restrictions on me.

The problem with social media is that it creates what Turkle calls the "illusion of companionship without friendship." This is very dangerous territory. Those superficial relationships might seem harmless, but the long-term affects are problematic. We're accepting the superficiality of online companionship as a replacement for a deeper real life connection. Why? Convenience? Laziness? Fear of intimacy? Fear of being alone? Fear of really being yourself, so you become a much-cooler version (or what you think others perceive to be cool)?

Humans highly dependent on technology are vulnerable. It's bad enough that we're lonely and afraid of intimacy, but technology is exacerbating those problems. This is something so serious that TED lectures are devoted to it, and academic papers are being written, documentaries are being made, and books are being written about the touchy subject.

Turkle suggested that we need to teach people (especially children) how to be alone without running toward the warmth of connectivity.

Watch Sherry Turkle's lecture... Connected, But Alone?

Solitude as a good thing. It makes you think. Sometimes I wonder we're trying NOT to think by surrounding ourselves with mindless entertainment, constant distractions, and superficial social media relationships.The more time we have to think, the more we come to the same conclusions... that all of this is just bullshit anyway.

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