i am (very gradually) working my way through the fascinating book by anthropologist, clinical psychologist, and professor of the social studies of science at m.i.t., sherry turkle called “alone together.” i am not making an attempt at a review, i simply want to share a few salient thoughts.
and thereby bolster my long-standing argument.
regular visitors to this space will know that i have profound misgivings about the proliferation of technology in general, and the pervasiveness of social media in particular. it might be presumptive, but i would suggest that turkle agrees with me…
Today’s adolescents have no less need than those of previous generations to learn empathetic skills, to think about their values and identity, and to manage and express feelings. They need time to discover themselves, time to think. But technology, put in the service of always-on communication and telegraphic speed and brevity, has changed the rules of engagement with all of this. When is downtime? When is stillness?
I wonder as I watch cell phones passed around high school cafeterias. Photos and messages are being shared and compared. I cannot help but identify with the people who sent the messages to these wandering phones. Do they all assume that their words and photographs are on public display? Perhaps. Traditionally, the development of intimacy required privacy. Intimacy without privacy reinvents what intimacy means. Separation, too, is being renvented. Tethered children know they have a parent on tap–a text or a call away.
so what say you, insightful friends? would you agree that, “Intimacy without privacy reinvents what intimacy means?” could technology be reframing our relationships?