Inspiration: Sherry Turkle’s “Connected, but alone?”


While listening to The Diane Rhem Show on NPR earlier this week, I was introduced to Sherry Turkle (Source).  Her words inspired my recent post “My Year Without Facebook.”  This afternoon, after an 8-hour day of work on a Saturday, I needed a break from grading student podcasts and decided to visit TED for the first time in a few weeks. I happily discovered Sherry Turkle once again:


This TED Talk is a wake-up call for communication.  Turkle explains that the cell phone and Internet technology is pulling us away from real life communication as well as self-knowledge, self-exploration, and true self identity.  I love the idea that living in this Facebook world allows us to retouch and delete the “self,” eliminating the messy real world and replacing it with a more clean, clear technology.  Turkle calls this the “Goldilocks Effect.”

I also love that she brings up this idea of “I share, therefore I am.”  We’re finding so much of our identity lies in “connecting” with others using a gadget, but we are afraid to be alone; we don’t know who we really are because we can’t enjoy the solitude that comes with learning and developing our self-identity; and we aren’t truly connecting because all this communication occurs in isolation.  These ideas are so important, I believe, for the culture obsessed with staying connected at all times.  This is why most people will never have the courage to deactivate their Facebook accounts, although it is a healthy choice.

Man, I love Sherry Turkle!

I just put Turkle’s 2011 text, Alone Together, on my must-read list.  Have any of you read Alone Together yet?  What do you think of Turkle’s written work?  Is it as great as her TED Talk and NPR interview with Diane Rehm?


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