The TED Talk entitled “Connected, but alone?” presented by Sherry Turkle is an eye-opener where she expressed how the little devices in our pockets are redefining how we communicate with each other. These devices have a psychological power which enables it to change what we do and how we think on a daily basis. We grew attached with these devices that we have to stay connected with the internet all day. Sherry Turkle’s theory on technology helps us understand that we have to disconnect to connect personally and in real time. Technology has its pros and cons which we should be aware of for us to be able to control the usage and minimize our dependency on these devices.
Having technology redirect our lives and take us to places which are barely what we have imagined is far from Turkle’s idea in 1996 where she was excited that technology would make our lives better by learning in the virtual world and apply it in the real world. This leads us to troubles where we can’t relate to each other and most importantly with ourselves. She stated that we are getting used to a new way of being alone together where it’s like being able to control the attention we have and be wherever we want to be at all times, like being on the phone while hanging out with friends. With the Goldilocks effect of being not too close, not too far, and just right, we shy away from conversations that are in real time where we can’t control what we say. We want to present ourselves as how we want to be.
Technology seems to be appealing to people of any age group because it enables us to control our attention and it makes us think that we will never be alone. Today, being alone is seen to be a problem which should not be the case. We tend to reach for our cellphones as an escape from being alone, and to feel connected. It’s as if we feel more connected when we have these devices, but this actually leads us to isolation where we do not have the capacity to separate ourselves and reflect. The ability of being alone can form real attachments, since we are able to reach out to people in a way that we appreciate who they are.
I have always thought that being connected made me feel less alone because for me being alone is terrifying, but I came into a realization that it is the complete opposite like what Sherry Turkle said. We have to converse more to know ourselves without pretensions, and see solitude as a step to even knowing ourselves better. By then, we are there for each other to listen and to connect. With technology at its early stages, we can reconsider how we make use of it that it does not control our lives and change what we do and how we think. We should make room for real time conversations and being alone. With these simple steps, we can start to live better lives wherein we care and connect with each other.