I just finished reading Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation which was chock full of truisms and presents a challenge to all of us to consider how we communicate. She makes a case for setting limits on technology tools, particularly our phones, and taking a good look at the value and importance of real voices and human eye contact in face to face conversation. Turkle believes students today lack empathy for others because our constant connectivity in digital spaces reduces friendship to a “performance” rather than a relationship.
In addition to the preference of texting over talking and the performance of “an edited life” on social media, young people are bombarded by information all around them and have grown up in a state of distraction. Television increasingly brings us BREAKING NEWS with a constant crawl on non-related topics scrolling across the screen and dramatic special effects hyping what is suppose to inform us.
Not only are we now comfortable with constant distraction, we consider nonstop interruption a normal state of affairs as our devices ding and beep in our pockets. Turkle says, “We forget how unusual this has become, that many young people are growing up without ever having experienced unbroken conversations either at the dinner table or when they take a walk with parents or friends. For them, phones have always come along” p. 16.
Are you concerned about the effects of mobile devices and where global digital participatory culture is heading? Do you feel like you have a handle on balancing your “digital double” (Turkle’s term for our online selves)?
The ideas in Turkle’s latest book are worthy of our attention. Stay tuned for part two and more discussion on this critical topic.
Photos from https://www.flickr.com/photos/rubbercat/208330144/in/photostream/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/clanlife/6369791755