Tag Archives: alone together

The Problem With The “I Forgot My Phone” Video

or just get new friends

…or just get new friends?

The easiest, laziest, most click-baitiest op-ed, trend video, or thing to scream at a bar right now is how, with today’s technologies, we are more connected but also more alone. Ooh. Zuckerberg has 500 million friends but it was never really a spoiler to say that Sorkin’s The Social Network ends with him sitting alone at a computer. Ooh. The Turkle-esque irony is just too good for it not to zeitgeist all over the place.

That argument should not be altogether dismissed but I am quite skeptical of where it’s so often coming from and how it’s articulated. This trend might be largely disingenuous, and by that I do not mean intentionally insincere but instead a sort of cultural positioning: we-are-connected-but-alone not only drips with that delicious ironic juxtaposition, it simultaneously props the person making the case as being somehow deeper, more human, more in touch with others and experience. (more…)

Abraham Lincoln Would Have Tweeted

Pretty sure this is 'shopped. Original artist, as far as I can tell, can be found here.

Recently, I started following a new podcast from Slate.com called Lexicon Valley. The half hour-long, weekly podcast by Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo covers a variety of topics but all of the episodes center around changes in language and the power of words. Their June 4th episode was devoted to Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address and I highly recommend giving it a listen. While Vuolo and Garfield conclude that the Gettysburg Address closely follows the structure of an ancient Greek funeral oration, they also note that the brevity of the address was both rhetorically deft and politically pragmatic. The address was reprinted verbatim on the front page of most major newspapers and was easily reproducible in every format imaginable– from pamphlets to marble plaques. Today, we can share huge amounts of information with little-to-no effort, yet the art of keeping it brief seems to hold sway. What are some of the unique properties of brevity that makes it so alluring and what can we expect to achieve with it? (more…)

Sherry Turkle’s Chronic Digital Dualism Problem

Reason #15,926 I love the Internet: it allows us to bypass our insane leaders israelovesiran.com

— allisonkilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) April 22, 2012

Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle, Author of Alone Together and a New York Times opinion piece on our unhealthy relationship to technology.

Sherry Turkle published an op-ed in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times’ Sunday Review that decries our collective move from “conversation” to “connection.” Its the same argument she made in her latest book Alone Together, and has roots in her previous books Life on the Screen and Second Self. Her argument is straightforward and can be summarized in a few bullet points:

  • Our world has more “technology” in it than ever before and it is taking up more and more hours of our day.
  • We use this technology to structure/control/select the kinds of conversations we have with certain people.
  • These communication technologies compete with “the world around us” in a zero-sum game for our attention.
  • We are substituting “real conversations” with shallower, “dumbed-down” connections that give us a false sense of security. Similarly, we are capable of presenting ourselves in a very particular way that hides our faults and exaggerates our better qualities.

Turkle is probably the longest-standing, most outspoken proponent of what we at Cyborgology call digital dualism. The separation of physical and virtual selves and the privileging of one over the other is not only theoretically contradictory, but also empirically unsubstantiated.  (more…)

“Friends”: Social Anxieties and Linguistic Technology

YouTube Preview Image

As I’ve written about elsewhere, Facebook and other social network sites structurally and architecturally facilitate the amassment of large, diverse, and publicly displayed networks. Because of this, Facebook is sometimes charged with weakening social ties, threatening authenticity, and imploding the meaning of friendship. This is highlighted in Jimmy Kimmel’s recent promotion of “National UnFriend Day”— a day in which Facebook users are asked to clean out their Friends lists because, as Kimmel explains:

Half of the people in the country are on Facebook, and many of those people have hundreds if not thousands of ‘friends’ – and I find this unacceptable. No one has thousands of friends.

As is the case here, humor often acts as a safe medium through which serious social anxieties can be addressed.  As such, Kimmel’s comedic call reflects real cultural sentiments about the meaning of friendship and the relational changes facilitated by an increasingly connected population.

The fear is that strong ties will be displaced by weak ties. That friendship will lose its meaning. We can think of this as a fear of social disconnection via over-connection. Like a dense drop of paint whose molecules spread when mixed with water, we fear that our relationships will bleed out into something paler and less vibrant. (more…)

Augmented Friendship Illustrated by PEW Data

The PEW Research Center just released new findings based on a representative sample of Americans on “Social networking sites and our lives.” Let’s focus on a conclusion that speaks directly to the foundation of this blog: that our social media networks are dominated by physical-world connections and our face-to-face socialization is increasingly influenced by what happens on social media.

Movies like The Social Network, books like Turkle’s Alone Together and television shows like South Park (especially this episode) just love the supposed irony of social media being at once about accumulating lots of “friends” while at the same time creating a loss of “real”, deep, human connection. They, and so many others, suffer from the fallacy I like to call “digital dualism.” There are too many posts on this blog combating the digital dualism propagated by these people who don’t use/understand social media to even link to all of them all here.

from the full report: http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP%20-%20Social%20networking%20sites%20and%20our%20lives.pdf

 

Further, (more…)