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Does staying connected make us more alone?

Posted: , by Charlene S.

Does staying connected make us more alone?
It’s an interesting thought. We are constantly integrating more technology into our lives, more apps into our devices, more social networks into our repertoire, more ways to connect - all to make physical distances between people obsolete. Are all of our efforts inadvertently in vein? One researcher says yes.

Sherry Turkle is a psychologist and professor of the social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has extensively researched how technology has impacted our ability to be alone and connect with those in the real world around us.

Turkle has published a book entitled “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other” and recently spoke at the TED conference to educate people about these issues. One caveat of digital relationships Turkle points out is, “We get to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch. Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and demanding. And we clean them up with technology.” She says that this type of communication gives “the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”

So, what do you think? Is Turkle right on with her observations of the impact of social media on real world relationships or is immersion into a digital world just the next evolution of human communication?

source: Alone Together via All Things D

26 Comments
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posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:25 5

1. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


Its not enough to stop me from using technology, drop my sensation, or get rid of my transformer
Besides, i have never used social networking --> its a waste of my time

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:25

2. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


First

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:39 1

4. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Real world or digital world, it doesn't matter to me. Let people be who they want to be. If they want to be geeks, nerds, douche bags, cool guys, athletes, whatever, let them be. This world has a lot of different choices open for each and every one of us. I'm all for freedom.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 23:45 2

17. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)


You have never used social networking and it's a waste of time? what are you doing right now? socially networking, commenting is not separate from social networking.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:38 17

3. quakan (Posts: 1147; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


I like this article a lot. I think social networks give us a false sense of being social. I think the reason social websites are so popular is because it allows you to connect to more people than you normally would on a daily basis and make you feel like you're actually being engaged in something. If you think about it, it's probably the reason why you open up your Facebook or Twitter app within 10 minutes of closing it because unless you're actually engaged in real social environments, it give you the feeling like you're social butterfly. From my own personal experience I realize that Facebook has made me think I've kept up with people from the past just by reading their statuses and looking at their pics, when in reality I know nothing more than what they post and I have no real connection to them. Rarely do I pick up my phone to actually call or text people to see what they've been up to and actually maintain a connection with them.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:43 2

5. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


My best friend is my friend since high school and ever since we graduated I've seen him only a handful of times. He doesn't use facebook much, he just posts some pics from time to time, so do I. And I really like facebook because it allows me to know what's happening to friends and families from time to time. To each his own by the way, it actually depends on how you view stuff like these.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 16:58 3

6. quakan (Posts: 1147; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


Yeah I like that with Facebook i can at least get a glimpse into a old friend's life but in the past I used to think I was actually keeping up with them until I finally saw them and realized how much I hadn't kept up with them. I realized I had lost closeness with them and even though I kept up with their Facebook and felt comfortable to say anything to them on there, it was uncomfortable and awkward to actually speak to them in person.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 17:54 5

10. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


very true. we feel so comfortable doing things online that even we try to build relationships there. its kinda makes me feel like The Matrix.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 03:27 2

19. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


@ ZEUS.the.thunder.god
You made me laugh dude thanks! :p

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 21:44

26. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


you welcome bro:)

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 13:24 2

24. metoyou (Posts: 277; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I, on the other hands is opposite, ever since facebook and other social networking getting more popular including text message. me and my friends are hardly get together now, our frienship is getting light, yes we do get in touch in facebook and but it's not the same. you can't feel the passion, the careness, the real emotions etc Typing on a screen is different from the real world face to face, you bascially can says anything but it does not means it's real. I think social networking really take away our human relationship, people are more fake than real nowadays and that's my opinion

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 17:03 2

7. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Very true! I lived in Jamaica for a few years (I'm from the U.S.) and I like Facebook cause it helps me to keep in touch with people that I other wise may not get to communicate with.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 17:13 3

8. CharleneSchnepf (Posts: 16; Member since: 30 Nov 2011)


Well said quakan. I feel the same way.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 17:50 4

9. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


gotta agree with you. we have never been more alone than todays world. its like living in a virtual world with the illusion of happiness. and tech/social networking as a whole gives us a false sense of being connected to everybody arround us. this is sad. its like closing our eyes from reality. we dont want to open our eyes because we dont wanna loose our virtual happiness. all we need is a data connection and we can be whatever we want to in our virtual lives. its kinda sad.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 20:53

13. 14545 (Posts: 1069; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Not in my case. Cause I rarely use FB, and I don't like people in real life either. Then again, I'm weird.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 06:57

22. ddxmms (Posts: 141; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)


good for you..

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 20:40 1

11. JGuinan007 (Posts: 621; Member since: 19 May 2011)


I don't like facebook or Twitter but I do find myself on here alot is that kinda sad?

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 20:50

12. quakan (Posts: 1147; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


No, I'm here all day everyday too. lol

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 03:31 4

20. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


What facebook is to other people, phonearena is to me :p By the time I get to my office til the time I log out I refresh my browser like every two minutes to check phonearena updates.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 13:00

25. itiswhatitis (Posts: 421; Member since: 23 Jan 2012)


Its kinda like what i do in my office, not necessarily because i want to be up-to-date but becuase this is the only interesting website that my company's filter browser allow,at home m either playing gta vi or cod:mw3.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 21:30 1

14. Stuntman (Posts: 711; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


When it comes down to it, we use technology to connect with people. When mail was first invented, did we become more alone because we can simply scribe a few words on a piece of paper instead of actually travelling to be face to face with someone? When the telephone was invented, did we become more lonely because we can now talk with someone without having actually travel to be face to face with that person? All of these technologies simply allow us to connect with people. It is a person on the other end of the technology that is posting a picture or comment or email or text message. If there were no people on the other end of this technology, then I would feel lonely.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 22:14 2

15. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


well thats another angle to look at it. and yes we feel more lonely now. now life is so fast paced that we dont have time to meet people in real life. so we try to fill that space by creating a virtual world arround us. and also we can portray ourselves the way we want to. that gives us a false sense of happiness. its like running away from real life, real world and real problems.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 18:49

23. Stuntman (Posts: 711; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Connecting with people online does not mean you do not meet them in person. I have never avoided meeting the people I know in person because I wanted or could connect with them or anyone else online. Technology today has made it easier to connect with people separated by vast distances. However, I still hang out with people in person. Technology has augmented my ability to connect with people not replaced how I connected with people before we had technological advances.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 23:16

16. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


stunning article! very intuitive i find it as a fact good observation! though!

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 01:39

18. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


What about people who was alone at first then got a smartphone, online at social sites, got some friends and meet in real life.
I know some people who were alone at the beginning but the day they got their smartphone they started getting online, speaking on chat site, being less timid and more open. Afterward they started meeting those people in real life. This did help them to find some friends.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 06:15

21. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


i use facebook alot sure, buts its only when i can't see my girlfriend due to outrageous gas prices (f*ck you america). as a matter of fact i met her on facebook and have been with her for roughly a year now so in my mind i think this article is wrong. just my opinion though.

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