This week Katia shared with the the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to technology. We talked a lot about the downsides to technology as well as the upsides. After thinking about the class discussion and watching Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk “Connected, but Alone?” I have just one question; am I controlling technology or is technology controlling me?
Technology can be pretty great. It can take us places that we never imagined we could go. It allows us to connect with people from halfway across the world. We have the capability to look anything up with just the press of a few buttons. Technology is fascinating! But with anything it has its downsides.
Sherry says in her talk that technology doesn’t only change what we do, it changes who we are. People are definitely different since the invention of social media. When I was a kid (which really wasn’t all that long ago), I played outside all day long as did all the kids my age. But today, you do not really see that. Kids today are so engrossed with their video games and tablets that they do not play outside as much. And it isn’t just kids that are engrossed with their tablets and phones. Adults are just as bad.
Sherry brings up this idea that our phones offer us 3 gratifying fantasies:
- we can put our attention wherever we want it to be
- we will always be heard
- we will never have to be alone
To be completely honest, she isn’t wrong, especially with the last two. We actually discussed the second one in class. We post to social media to be heard and we thrive when we get likes. This means we are being heard and people are acknowledging us. We often check frequently to see if we have any new likes. I am guilty of this. Everyone I am sure is guilty of this. These likes also make us feel as is we are not alone. People are saying “hey. We know you exist” by liking our posts or sending us that text or snapchat. However, even though we have our phone with us, we are still alone. Sherry says in her talk that “being alone is a feels like a problem that needs to be solved” and that we rely on our phones to solve this. When I am waiting for food to be made or standing in line at the store, I check my phone and when I glance up, other people around me are doing the same. Technology is our go to when we are feeling alone because it makes us feel connected. But even when we are not alone, we turn to technology. How many times have I been at a restaurant with my friends and at least one of us is checking our phone. Sometimes all of us are on our phones. We will be in the company of people and we will still turn to technology.
But it kind of makes sense. Like Sherry mentions in her talk technology is designed to give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. I mean some people are into this. They prefer to not deal with people face to face. And I get it. Sometimes I don’t want to deal with people but it is something we need. We need that face to face interaction to develop conversation skills and social skills among other things.
So back to my original question; am I controlling technology or is technology controlling me? Well that is tough to answer but I think most of the time, I feel as if I am in control when in reality, technology is controlling me. There isn’t a moment in the day that I do not know where my phone is and if I seem to have misplaced it, come hell or high water I will find it before doing anything else. And if I had to pick an app that is controlling me the most I would definitely say it is SnapChat. Ever since they came out with streaks, that is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about before going to bed; which is kind of sad but true. So to end this, I am going to set a sort of goal for myself; to unplug every once in a while. Sometimes we need a break from technology and it isn’t the end of the world if we take one.