Sep 24, 2006
Is social networking changing the way people relate to each other?
New Scientist has an interview with sociologist and MIT professor Sherry Turkle about how "always-on" communication devices - i.e. instant messaging, Wi-Fi and cellphones - are changing the way people relate to each other.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
For some people, things move from "I have a feeling, I want to call a friend" to "I want to feel something, I need to make a call". In either case, what is not being cultivated is the ability to be alone and to manage and contain one's emotions. When technology brings us to the point where we're used to sharing our thoughts and feelings instantaneously, it can lead to a new dependence, sometimes to the extent that we need others in order to feel our feelings in the first place.
Our new intimacies with our machines create a world where it makes sense to speak of a new state of the self. When someone says "I am on my cell", "online", "on instant messaging" or "on the web", these phrases suggest a new placement of the subject, a subject wired into social existence through technology, a tethered self. I think of tethering as the way we connect to always-on communication devices and to the people and things we reach through them.
Continue to read the full interview