“I share therefore I am”

// Posted by on 04/03/2012 (11:31 PM)

My friends and I accuse each other of being attached to our phones on a daily basis. Someone is always asking someone else to repeat a sentence, or an entire story, that they missed when they were paying attention to a text. I’ve never understood what is so addicting about my cell phone or why other people seem to share the addiction, but I am well aware that a problem exists. Cultural analyst Sherry Turkle , has been studying technology and how it changes our lives for decades. In her TEDtalk she discusses how communication through a device, such as texting on a cell phone, has changed who we are. I have read articles and heard other people talk about ideas that are similar to Turkle’s, but her TED talk was by far the most interesting and easiest to relate to of them all. There were several statements in her talk that made me rewind, listen again, and think: “That is exactly how I feel.”

Turkle discussed the emotional attachment we have, not to the physical device, but to what it provides. One of the most interesting portions of the talk was when she discussed the “three gratifying fantasies” that texting creates.

1. We can put our attention wherever we want it to be
2. We will always be heard
3. We never have to be alone

The third fantasy was most interesting to me because Turkle elaborated on that idea and explained that constant connections through our technology create the illusion that we are never alone. Though this seems like a comforting fact at first, she explained that if we never feel alone because of our cell phones, we feel lonelier when we are actually alone. Our inability to be alone becomes a deeply rooted issue that forces us to confront the problems in our relationship with technology.

There were many points in Turkle’s argument that, like the aforementioned, startled me and made me realize that I possess this troublesome relationship with technology. Further proving her point, I took comfort in the fact that I was not alone and that almost everyone I know with a cell phone shares my problem.



I think this is one of the most important TED talks for our generation to watch because it addresses some issues that are serious, but fixable. Towards the end of her talk, Turkle makes it clear that she is not suggesting we turn away from our technology or view it as an enemy. She suggests that we act as we would if we were trying to fix any dysfunctional relationship: put in some quality time and effort to sort out the problems.

Do you agree that these problems exist between our technology and us? Do you think they are as fixable and Shelly Turkle suggests they are? If these problems exist, could they develop into emotional weaknesses for future generations?

Categories: Discussion, Uncategorized


Kelsey said...

Wow, this is perfect I think Turkle explains what a lot of us have been thinking about technology. There is a reason people update their facebook status or twitter account 20 times a day. The desire to feel connected to someone sounds like a very logical reason for numerous reasons such as the person we really want to be with may be on our phone as opposed to the person right in front of us. I think this is an easily fixed problem that is all about balancing between the people around you, those your connected with by a tool, and the time one needs to process all of that and understand who they are through the midst of it all.

// 04/04/2012 at 11:26 pm