Technology has been utilized for the advancement of the world for years. The economy, education, government, science and tourism are influenced in terms of broadcasting, introducing and selling products, technical teaching and transportation. It is a convenience for people who are busy juggling the amount of work on their hands (Ramey, 2013). It also helps save and facilitate data needed for work (Goodman, 2016). There is mobility between people in different places who wish to transfer information from one area to another. Technology has also been an important factor in communication.
With cellphones and laptops, it is easy to connect with our loved ones and acquaintances. This creates a connected community known as the global village. Although, as time passes by, face-to-face communication dwindles down to simply connecting with people.
He is present yet absent at the same time. It leads us to the question, does technology makes us disconnected despite being connected?Sherry Turkle stated on her address, Connected but Alone, that people are letting technology take them to places they do not want to go (TED, 2012). She believed that technology is psychologically powerful that it influences the way people function every day.
People text or e-mail others during presentations, while some use their phones while having breakfast or dinner. This is prominent as of today. One example is when teens go out to eat with their family or friends, but instead of talking with each other, they would often take their phones out and scroll down to chat or read interesting articles.
The speaker also stated that technology affects the way people relate with others and their selves negatively – in this case, self-reflection. People are together yet alone. They want to be with others but also elsewhere. The present generation’s attention-span is limited, and only interesting things can catch their eyes. However, this may lead to hiding from each other. One instance that proves this is the time when an old man confides to Sherry about his co-workers.
They were all so busy with their e-mails that he did not want to interrupt them, but in reality, it was him who did not want to be bothered. I also had a fair share of this. We were in a get-together, and despite us wanting to catch up with each other, we were distracted by our phones and chatmates. Unless one opened the table for conversation, nobody voiced out even a simple “How are you doing?”.The inability to converse with others directly makes communication difficult for individuals who wish to develop face-to-face relationships. Adolescents are often afraid to communicate personally because once they utter something wrong, they cannot take it back.
One cannot deny the fact that it is better to talk using gadgets because we will not be able to irate people, we can edit, revise and even delete what we mean to say. We can present ourselves the way we want others to see. We sacrifice conversation for mere connection. Nevertheless, know that virtual exchanges between people do not count as a way of understanding each other because one cannot see that person’s reaction, nor would they know what they really think.
According to Sherry, conversation is coming to know and understand each other while connection is just gathering tidbits of information. Talking with others teaches us how to have conversation with the self. Flight from conversation can compromise self-reflection and that may lead to a failure in character development. Lastly, the speaker also pointed out that we trust technology more than we trust others. We spend more time with them rather than with real people because of the need for companionship and somebody to share our problems with. Human vulnerability is the factor that causes us to lean more on machines. Hence, we expect more from technology and less from one another. We fear relationship with others that we create an illusion of company through these gadgets.
Not only that, it shapes the character of one’s self. On the other spectrum, we also have the ‘I share therefore I am’. There is the thought that we fail to exist without sharing or connecting with others. We think that we should post things because we feel like we will be heard. It removes anxiety and isolation. I could not agree more with the statements provided in the speech.
She pointed the truths that we see in today’s generation. It pains me to know that they were able to predict how technology would have affected us. The fact that we do not engage with other people personally is visible and even just being side-by-side, we could not talk because of the need to chatter with other people who are not in the same room. In my case, I will say that it is awkward to express my self because of the nagging feeling that they might judge me or even scowl at my words.
I also agree that young adults seem to dislike real conversation. I am guilty at this part because of the mere truth that I prefer chatting online with people I am not close with. Whenever I try to have a simple chitchat with them, I always ran out of ideas and it becomes uncomfortable for me to continue speaking to them. Technology has truly made us disconnected on this connected world, but it is probably because we let it enslave us.
Now, what we must do is act, speak and listen to others. We should find the time to reconnect our selves to our family and friends. Just like what Sherry said, develop a more self-aware relationship with others and claim back the conversations we lost due to our devices.
We should also have the time to reflect and maybe one day, we will be able to have a proper conversation with those people around us without having to revise what we want to say.