Saturday, 21 April 2012

TED: Connected, but Alone? - Sherry Turkle

I've only seen a dozen or so TED talks, but this has to be the most powerful one that I've watched and probably one of the most powerful TED talks that I will see.

Ms Turkle's argument is very compelling. Highly unusually for someone of my generation, I don't have Facebook or Twitter; I don't interact with any other forms of social media apart from this blog; I don't own a smartphone; life without my phone would be no more than a slight, occasional inconvenience.

One of the reasons that I've stayed away from Facebook/Twitter and the like is that I don't want such things to become necessities in my life. I don't want to load the Internet and have Facebook to be the first thing that I check; I have gmail for that. Linking to what Ms Turkle said, I don't feel the need to have to create a false persona to put on show to my 'friends' when I'm perfectly happy with who I am. I don't feel the need to communicate everything that I'm doing, all the time, to everyone I've ever shared the same square metre of space with; we all need our privacy - I just like more of it than others seem to.

Ms Turkle is brutally honest in the home truths that she delivers about society's growing dependence on social media and the detrimental effects of these alternative means of 'communication.' There were a number of quotes that resonated with me but this is perhaps my favourite: that we use technology to create the "illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship." Perhaps we need to take a step back from technology and appreciate those friendships that we have made. After all, a text might feel like a hug, but it's not the same as the real thing.

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