So connected, we’re disconnected

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The illustration (as seen above), is inspired by a photograph I took whilst sat on the top deck of a London bus. Perfect evidence that we’re becoming so connected, we’re disconnected.

Technology, it’s something we all use all the time., We text, email, and constantly check our Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook. Is this healthy? Or is technology sending us on a downward spiral of increasingly limited human interaction with one another. We’re all so absorbed by our devices, we’re forgetting to engage in physical conversation – and when we do, we’re still checking our mobile phone notifications.

Recently, I broke my mobile phone, and whilst attempting to get it fixed, I went back to an old Nokia 3310 which I could only use for texts and calls. No internet, no data. The two weeks I spent using this phone opened my eyes to how much we rely on technology on a daily basis. Getting places was the hardest, with no Citymapper to get me from door to door I had to speak to people on buses, in the street, pop into shops and ask if they had heard of the restaurant. In return, I got a look of disgust, thrown in with a sigh of ‘another crazy one’. Which all made me wonder: ‘are we no longer allowed to speak face-to-face? Are we ‘weird’ for asking for directions and engaging in a conversation with somebody we don’t really know?’ If this is becoming the norm, it’s worrying.

Sherry Turkle gave a very interesting talk titled ‘Connected, but alone?’ at TedTalks (2012) where she discussed the connection between people. Turkle says ‘Across the generations I see that people can’t get enough of each other, if and only if, they can have each other at a distance, in amounts they can control’. The point about control particularly interests me: how we as humans can now control our conversations. We can edit them, delete them or retouch them, so our communications can be perceived as we want them to be, through technology. As Turkle states ‘Human relationships are rich, they’re messy and they’re demanding. We clean them up with technology and when we do we sacrifice conversation with mere connection’.

 

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