Sherry Turkle explores the impact of technology use on society. She speaks about “connection” as being friends or followers on social media and makes a point that we are now missing that deeper connection to each other in real time.
Dr. Turkle makes a couple of points relevant to our discussion of connected influence.
One of the reasons Dr. Turkle gives for our constant need for social media is the feeling we are not listened to.
That feeling that no one is listening to me is very important in our relationships with technology. That’s why it’s so appealing to have a Facebook page or a Twitter feed —so many automatic listeners.
This highlights the importance, the extreme need for people to start practicing connective listening, at least momentarily setting aside the need to be heard and meeting someone else’s need to be understood.
Another element of the situation is our deep aversion to quiet and solitude. I, too, am prone to reach for my phone, check Facebook or Twitter, whenever I have a few minutes of down time.
“Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved. And so people try to solve it by connecting. But here, connection is more like a symptom than a cure.”
Remember, she is talking about the superficial connections we have on social media, not the deep interpersonal connections possible when we listen and understand each other’s stories.
In my opinion, social media “connections” often serve as counterfeits to real connection. She says, “Solitude is where you find yourself so that you can reach out to other people and form real attachments.”
I would like to leave you with one final thought from Dr. Turkle’s TED Talk:
Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves.
I challenge you today to stop short-changing yourself and your relationships with the people around you. Turn off your phones and be fully present for the important moments of your life.