Technology has become the structure of our inner most thoughts and feelings. Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication and relationships. However the constant never ending connections leads us to a new type of solitude. As technology controls more of our lives, our emotional lives are less vivid and fulfilling. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle is a result of years of research and study exploring lives on the digital world. It describes new unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and the new instabilities in how we understand privacy, community, intimacy and solitude.
This was brought home to me in a conversation with a friend of mine. While traveling, he related a story concerning his grandson and his “girlfriend.” The phone rings and the young man looks to see who the caller is, seeing that it is his girl friend, the young man hangs up and precedes to text her. My friend is bewildered by this behavior and asks his grandson why he did not just talk with her. His response was, that he did not want deal with all the “drama.”
Do we expect more from technology and less from on another?