FaceTime. Email. Text Messaging. Twitter. Your iPhone is your personal communicator, allowing you to keep in contact with friends, family and your social network. The web, the internet – gateways to information and productivity.
But technology has a downside, and anyone who’s battled internet addiction or just taken a weekend off from being plugged-in understands the need for balance. My colleague Professor Sherry Turkle, Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, has been studying this phenomenon for decades and researched how relentless connection can lead to a new solitude:
Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for? Now, the question is what don’t we use them for? Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere.
Her new book, Alone Together, offers substantial food-for-thought on this increasingly relevant topic.
. . . new networked devices offer us machine-mediated relationships . . . we remake ourselves and our relationships with each other through our new intimacy with machines. People talk about Web access on their [smartphones] as “the place for hope” in life, the place where loneliness can be defeated. A woman in her late sixties describes her new iPhone: “It’s like having a little Times Square in my pocketbook.”
Could be a worthy read to download to your Kindle or iPhone for upcoming holiday travel – or purchase the dead tree edition and take a walk in the woods! For more information, visit alonetogetherbook.com.