Briefly summarize the talk – what is the thesis of the talk and what points does the speaker use to support his or her arguments.

Do you agree with the speaker? Why or why not – be detailed and specific!  You can agree with parts of the talk and disagree with others.  Discuss both the facts, examples, or specifics included in the talk and your own informed thoughts and opinions. 

Today, I watched a TED talk from Sherry Turkle. It is about how technology makes us feel connected even in reality, we are not.

The speaker's main topic and thesis is this - people who are always communicating with the use of technology are used to being alone, not able to show their real selves and are scared of intimacy. Adults, adolescents, and kids - no one is exempted with using gadgets and technology. Adults still send emails and texts during a board meeting. Even parents are holding their phones during breakfast and dinner. Adolescents never learned to have a real face-to-face relationship. Kids had grownup communicating through text. The use of these technologies "let us present the self as we want to be. We get to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the body -- not too little, not too much, just right".  What this means is that we are able to hide our real identities from each other. We can only show others the good sides that we have and not the bad side. We can create an ideal copy of ourselves so other people will never know our bad sides. The last point that the speaker has mentioned is that we are afraid of being too close with other people that we let ourselves get stuck in the idea of communicating online.

Personally, I don't agree to all the points that she mentioned but I have easily seen the reality - people who are overwhelmed with technology and who usually do not have that much of face-to-face relationships. Also, I can feel the way she feels about how strange and sad for all of this to happen.

The first two points of the speaker are the ones that I agree of. She mentioned about having a skill of typing/texting without looking at the cellphone screen and making eye contact with a speaker. With these words, I felt like she described me as a texter. When I was in the Philippines, I usually do this in the classroom or during seminars - holding my phone and texting while listening to the teacher who is talking about a lecture. Also, I never really had close friends before because I am holding my phone all the time. Of course no one will talk to you when you seem not interested. Basically, I grew up texting, I grew up in a world where people would rather text you or email you than talk to you in person or over the phone.

The second point that I agree of is how we are able to create a different version of ourselves when we are using technologies. When she mentioned this point, I immediately thought of myself whenever I am texting a person that I don't want to talk to and I am angry with. It feels like I am forcing myself to stay calm and cool. Even if I already typed mean words, I get to erase it in the end - changing it from kind words that will make the other person think of me as nice and caring. Another example that I can think of about changing our real selves is when we are talking to someone who have not seen as yet. We can tell that person how good-looking, intelligent, sexy, or nice we are - even if nothing of those are true. We can let other people think how we look, even if that is not the real us. I really agree to Turkle's point because I have seen my friends do this to other people.

The only point that I don't agree of is her last point. She said that people who use these technologies are scared of intimacy. I am user of these gadgets and I was never like this. Now, I still prefer talking to people face-to-face than doing it over the phone. I don't see a lot of people who are more focused on the screen than talking to others. Of course I would still prefer a face-to-face relationship rather than a virtual relationship.

However, she managed to convince me that there are a lot of negative effects from focusing too much about technologies. When we become adults, we should learn how to balance in interacting with the real world and the technology. We should not be editing what we want to say when we are texting. Also, the way real relationships work is that we should never be afraid of intimacy.

The internet makes us connected, but face-to-face relationships are more of worth.


Noa Friedman
01/13/2014 7:37am

I like your response. I agree with your point that using technology as a means of communication does not affect intimacy. For example, my grandmother lives in Israel, but I Skype and email her quite often. Technology brings people together that are very far away, which is why she got a computer in the first place. When I saw her this summer, we acted exactly the same way as we did on the computer.

I also agree that people take on a different image when using technology. I see this all the time on Facebook and I think we all do it. We choose to include or exclude parts of our lives. We also choose what we "like" on Facebook and what pictures and text we post, which are indications of our personality. Yet in a way, this can be said for face-to-face conversations as well. You can choose how you act and what you say, the only difference is there is no delete button. :)


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