Online Now

September 26, 2012

The description to this video reads “Journey into the world of contemporary online social interaction” and could be seen as a short, but compelling cinematic interpretation of many issues and concerns outlined in Sherry Turkle‘s groundbreaking “Together Alone: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other“. This video will resonate with many of the so-called “digital natives”.


In light this video’s targeted viewers, it is very interesting to read some of the comments made by reddit users after it was posted there. The comments vary along the entire spectrum:

Even without their devices, I’ve seen coworkers ignore each other in the elevator, teenagers ignore their parents in the same room, and social outcasts separate themselves from the party. What if our failings at social interactions have nothing to do with the rise of tech?

Whenever I meet with my Indian MS in computing friend, he spends half the meal intently interacting with his iphone. To tell you the truth, it really sucks.

Yes, people can ignore each other without tech, but tech makes it easier.
Similarly, people can get fat without super processed cheap calories and subsidized corn syrup, but those things make it far far easier and you get dramatically more obesity.
Obviously, there’s personal responsibility in every choice we make, but the available choices change society in clearly observable ways.

god damn this is so scary. what’s worse is the speed with which the transformation is happening….

  • 20 years ago most people didn’t know what the internet was
  • 10 years ago we upgraded from dial-up.
  • 5 years ago mobile phones started doing more than texting and calling.
  • 3 years ago we started constantly carrying around devices connected to the internet.
  • 2 years ago we got 4G.
  • Last year the internet enabled revolutions to spread fast enough to topple authoritarian regimes decades old.
  • Right now Facebook has connected 1 in every 7 people in the world.
  • Tomorrow…?

The horrible fact I see that is inescapable is that currently we live in a world with extremely finite and limited resources, with an ever expanding population. As technology and the internet advances to the realms of science fiction, I see a very real possibility that the virtual world is where people will spend most of their time and money.

This video is absolutely beautiful, and here is why.
Though you might want to discredit its message because of the depictions of social neglect, manipulation, and distrust; you must realize that those negative traits are traits of the human race, and would carry on, technology or not. What is beautiful about this film is its depiction of technology and what, in my opinion, is the overall message its trying to convey. The film demonstrates that humans are social creatures, and we have reached a new age in our ability to do what we do best, socialize. The devices we use to do it have always been of controversy upon their introduction (people used to think the phone would steal your soul), but the film holds technology where it belongs, neutrally. Its that final line “No one has to be forever alone anymore, we’ve all got each other now” that really represents the absolutely incredible change that is taking place in our civilization. Technology is advancing in ways we never expected and as its advancement accelerates I think we may find our relationship with it shifting from the separate entities we believe them to be now, to a symbiotic trade off as our use of technology changes us. We truly are entering a new age, and the internet and our inflated communication is the catalyst that started it all.

Why do people forget that these tools are only adaptions and extensions of ourselves? It’s what you do with what you got, not what you’re doing because of what you got. We project ourselves in our offices, our clothes, and every other piece of article we own or surround ourselves with. We exist between biological parameters, and our socialization isn’t quite dependent on our material possessions. Rather, our material possessions are manifestations of our socialization.

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