I recently came across an amazing TED Talk in which Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT in the Program of Science, Technology and Society, explores our relationship to, and use of technology and how this is impacting our relationships with others.
It’s an interesting take on the dangers of being connected virtually but not personally. She feels that “technology (social media) provides the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship” and some of us expect more intimacy from our connected devices than we do from each other. In her view, “the feeling that ‘no one is listening to me’ makes us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us” which is leading us down the path to trouble.
Technology has been a powerful tool to connect us at any moment, across any boundaries. In many ways, we are never alone because at any moment we can text a family member, read a Tweet from a friend, or surf our Facebook feed to share a glimpse of each other’s lives. But Sherry Turkle makes the argument that these glimpses do not add up to the value of a true conversation.
“Human relationships are rich, and they’re messy, and they’re demanding, and we clean them up with technology…and when we do, one of the things that can happen is we sacrifice conversation for mere connection.”
Learn to be content with being alone at times so you can spend time in thought and begin to truly learn about yourself. And value your conversation with others by turning off the phones to be present.
I encourage you to watch and then reflect on how you use technology to satisfy your need for connection.