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This week at uni we were asked to watch and comment on Sherry Turkle’s presentation ‘Connected, but Alone?’ which is a TEDtalk. If you don’t know what a TEDtalk is – go to YouTube and find some talks. They are a mixture of brilliant and boring ideas, but each one discusses an issue. Since my uni only allowed a 200 word response, I’ve expanded it here – in the hopes that the other students would really think about the issue presented to them instead of just agreeing with the argument presented.

Technology has advanced to the point of replacing the social interactions of groups of people, or so we are led to believe after watching Sherry Turkle’s presentation ‘Connected, but Alone?’ (2012). I found myself disagreeing with Sherry’s opinion. Her presentation, while professionally executed, was blurring the line between social media addiction (a recently named ‘Pathological’ disorder) and the positive aspects of a technologically-advanced generation. Sherry focussed the majority of her argument on the lack of face-to-face communication within our online social network and the resulting lack of “real-time” conversation, predicting that future generations would replace social contact with a robot companion. I felt that her focus on the negative aspects of the social media world, such as an individual’s inability to socialise outside of the online world and a constant addiction to the internet, social media and faceless communication, to be an textbook example of serious psychological issues within these individual’s.

In the article ‘Does Technology Really Bring People Together?’ (2012) the author discusses the opinions of Tech Anthropologist, Stefana Broadbent, who explains how the bustling technology of today, has changed the way we intimately communicate. It’s now easier than ever to stay in touch with close friends and family, whether they are in the next suburb or the next continent leading Stefana’s research to the conclusion that “people are fervently staying in touch with their most intimate sphere now more than ever. Thanks to technology, we are taking advantage of being in contact all throughout the day.” (2012). According to her study, “fifty percent of people with email access at work are actually checking their private email” however the study did not include the use of mobile devices which would increase the percentage, perhaps by another twenty to thirty percent.

In my personal life, I spend a great deal of time on my computer, the internet & social media, however at the end of the day I also have meaningful discussions, precious face-time with interstate family and quality computer skills – all of which could not have been possible without technology.

Not only is technology bringing social groups together all over the world, the European Research & Innovation Commission invested EUR 12.8 Million in “Together Anywhere, Together Anytime (TA2)” (2009) a recently completed research project which studied the way in which technology affects the relationships of household groups as well as way technology affects business groups. A clear indication that technology is the way forward in communication.

I do not think the art of conversation is dying – I do think, however, that the way in which children are taught about conversation is appalling.  I believe it is a personal choice to spend time looking at, or immersing yourself in, the online world of social media. The foundation of fulfilling intimate relationships has, and probably always will be, communication – whether that’s virtually, hand-written, texted or spoken is up to you.

References:

TEDtalksDirector.(2012, April 3). Sherry Turkle: Connected, but Alone? . Retrieved March 6, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watchv=+7Xr3AsBEK4

hashtagsophiapowe. (2012,April 14). Does Technology Really Bring People Together? [website] Retrieved March 6, 2013, from http://hashtagsophiapowe.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/does-technology-really-bring-people-together/

Together Anywhere, Together Anytime (TA2) (2009) European Research & Innovation: How technology can bring people together. [Website] Retrieved March 6, 2013, from http://ec.europa.eu/research/headlines/news/article_09_10_01_en.html

Need to reference this for University? Use this APA standard format:

The Sporky Dorky (2013, March 8). Social Media & Society [Website] https://lifeofsporky.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/technology-social-media-society/

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