Position Paper: Always-On/Always-On-You: The Tethered Self
Reading the article Always-On/Always-On-You by Sherry Turkle, brought me back to the beginning of the semester when students were asked, where they were while reading this article and if they were interrupted while reading the article? These questions are certainly relevant, considering the content of Always-On/Always-On-You. I have been interrupted by work on four different occasions via text messages and phone calls while reading the article. I have not been able to focus on one thing at a time, the distractions are currently endless which proves that technology has a massive affect on my life. Technology enables people to do two or three things at once, maybe even more, and although being able to multitask can been seen as highly efficient, it negatively effects a persons quality of thought. As Turkle mentioned, people are denying the importance of doing one thing at a time.
Technology may give people a delusion of having control, but I believe it promotes our lives being out of control. Turtle mentioned that ‘people develop a sense that they cannot keep up with their own lives,’ while a person wants to give undivided attention to the task at hand the phone starts ringing, which drives them to turn on the news, then completely uninterested in the prior task the person is checking their email. Information is pumped into our minds at rapid speeds which gives a sense of lack of control leading to anxiety. Turkle recognized, ‘I don’t have enough time alone with my mind’, which I believe is true in regards to myself, yet I cannot completely blame technology on this fact. In many situations I do not want to be left to my own devices so I use technology to distract my mind. This is the way I have been brought up and what I am accustomed to, a lifestyle which is somewhat unavailable to one specific area of life because there is so much going on around me.
People believe that communication devices will bring friendships, love interests and family into closer proximity, and although technology has created an easier means to connect people is has also become much less personal. For example, internet dating certainly has given hope that technology will bring a person close to others like them. But before communication devices were created, people were more social in public situations. Nowadays people hide behind their cell phones even if they would rather be talking to the person sitting beside them on the bus. Technology allows people to use the easiest form of communication to try to attain want they want, but taking the easiest route seems impersonal. Specifically among tethered teenagers, they so accustomed to text messaging and communicating over facebook, it depersonalizes their relationships. Text messaging is not personal, it is a means of communication that is simple and to the point with complete lack of intimacy. Imagine being asked out on a date via text message, facebook or internet dating service in comparison to being asked in person. Furthermore, it is incredibly hard to analyze what a text message or computer message is trying to communicate, without ranges of voice tone of facial expression these messages are full of unknown meaning. It is ironic that certain technologies created to bring people together could perhaps be pushing them apart.