Connected, but alone?

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Today, more than ever, the technologies occupy a very important place in our lives.  We use the technology all the time and we are trying to be connected all the time, by social networks like Twitter, Facebook or just by texting. This is the result of an evolution, because some years ago we would find the devices that we use disturbing, but now they are part of our normal life.

If we analyze Sherry Turkle‘s TED talk we will learn more about the effects of technology in the human relationships:

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/es/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html

Turkle used the exploration research in order to investigate a social phenomena by studying the technologies of mobile communication. She interviewed hundreds of people, young and  old, about them virtual lives  using the Qualitative Method in order to develop an authentic understanding of this social process.

Her conclusion was that all this devices are so psychologically powerful that they do not only change the things we do, but also change WHO WE ARE. Why we are saying that? Because today we usually see how some teenager are together, but they actually are not together. They are just abstracted, faraway.

I think this is a real problem in nowadays society, because, as Turkle said, it is a trouble in how we relate to each other and how we relate to ourselves. She said too that this is destroying our capacity for self-reflection. However, I thing that this is not always true. The fact that we have Twitter and Facebook account doesn’t mean that we are loosing our capacity for self-reflection. We can control the time that we spend in the social networks. We hang out with some friends and we like to talk face-to-face.

On the other hand,  by an Explanatory research Turkle discovered the ”Goldenloks effect”: Not too close, Not too far, just Right.

 But what is just right for an executive, is not for a teenager, who need to develop face-to-face relationships. And it could be a problem for a teenager who don’t have the capacity to control the time that he or she spends on social networks. Then, I think at this  moment is very important the role that the parents have. They have to control this and teach them how to keep a real conversation.

Another problem that Turkle mentioned and is interesting is the fact that is difficult to have a real conversation if the other person is not listening. Therefore, social networks are like automatic listeners that offer three gratifying fantasies: 1) we can put our attention wherever we want it to be, 2) we will always be heard, and 3) we will never have to be alone. That last one is interesting because people think that being alone is a problem that we have to solve quickly, and we do it just connecting with more and more people.

At last, I have found interesting the process of getting from connection to isolation. Is interesting that we will be isolated if we don’t have the ability to be separated, to gather ourselves. If we don’t have that capacity, we turn to other people in order to feel less anxious. Nowadays, a lot of people think that if we are not connected, we will feel ourselves less alone. But it is the opposite! If we are not able to be alone, we are going to be more lonely.

For conclusion, I think that technologies are very useful nowadays. They bring us security and  make our lives easier. But the things is that we have to use them properly and put them in the correct place in our life. Being balanced, that is the secret. Because, after all, nothing is more enjoyable than taking a Coke and chatting with a couple of good friends in a pub.

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One thought on “Connected, but alone?

    beatean said:
    October 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    It was interesting reading you post, because your impressions were so close and still so far from the impressions I had after watching Sherry Turkle’s talk. I must say that I first really experienced this crazy environment with massively important iphone updates only this year.
    Before that I have been living in small places with small communities where people wold rather go and knock on the door of the neighbour than message them. I had seen teenagers with their little twittering and instagraming devices, but never experienced a conversation taken over with those. Only recently when attending this uni, I have experienced this environment, and I must agree, I am not happy. I miss my little commuities with tea dates and picnics. But at the same time, I understand the comfort of having this device. It takes away the awkward silences, people always have a back up plan from being awkward or being bored.
    I don’t own a smartphone, and sometimes I do feel left out, but still – I think that people who like to spend time online still have the ability to have a great tea-date with ‘the weird girl who is not connected’, and engage in a dialogue. The average person will be able to do this. The extremes are the ones that are portrayed in Turkle’s speach.

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