For my Communication in the Media class, we read a article titled “Alone Together”. The article discusses different opinions on how technology today impacts people’s social skills and relationships. To begin, I would like to start by talking about what the author means by the “emotional dumbing down” of others.
Technology Dumbing People Down
“Alone Together” very convincing talks about how technology is making people less capable of being social and having relationships. The article states, “a willful turning away from the complexities of human partnerships-the inauthentic as a new aesthetic”. People today are enjoying having relationships with what is virtually a computer or robot. These relationships that are happening through a computer are making people incapable of interacting face to face, but most enjoy the computer mediated communication because they feel in control of the conversation. They do not have to deal with conflict, and therefore do not have to make complex decisions about relationships, leading to people being dumbed down and lacking in social and relational skills. The dumbing down relates directly with people feeling better about themselves because they have a relationship they can control and feel loved in, which leads me to my next topic: how do networks defend people against loneliness while at the same time control the intensity of peoples connections.
If you want to read more about Technology dumbing us down go to this link and read more: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mr-personality/201305/is-technology-making-us-stupid-and-smarter
Loneliness and Connections
Technology is seen as a way to make people not lonely. It can connect people to each other in various ways that are now face to face. But when people start to become less social and are reliant on technology, a new technology is developed to make them become social. In other words, a new technology will fix all peoples problems. Not only do we keep believing technology is fixing us and our problem, it allows people to tailor their messages and how they are perceived. They can become a whole new person, someone who is confident, online. Doing so makes them feel connected with others and not as lonely. People can make their Facebook page to please themselves. People can edit their messages until they project the self image they want to be. In doing so, are people really making true connections? It can be challenging to find the boundaries that technology create in communication. Technology can open some forms of communication, as well as close others. Next we will be looking at how technology redraws boundaries between intimacy and solitude.
Boundaries in Technology
The use of networking and technology for creating an identity may feel like a identity itself. If someone were lonely and isolated, it seems better than nothing. But online, someone can be slim, rich, and buffed up. Someone feels they have more opportunities than in the real world when using technology. Using technology is better than nothing, and not surprisingly, people report feeling let down when they move from the virtual to the real world. This is because when using technology and networking with others, people feel that they can share more with a robot (the computer) because they are not fafe to face with anyone. As we instant-message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude. People share more, and it opens the boundaries up and people become more intimate with each other while being alone more often.
To read more from the article “Alone Together”, check out this link and learn more on boundaries: http://www.alonetogetherbook.com/?p=4
In conclusion, we are all aware that technology is changing the way we all live out lives. Learn to use it well and do not let it dumb you down- allow it to make you excel in life.
Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books, 1-32.