Alone Together and Radically Transparent

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With the continuous expansion of the media as an entity in both the physical ‘legacy-media’ space as well as online, the exposure of mass audiences to a variety of platforms has become something of a norm. In this sense, it could be said that the audience itself is broadening with the media. Increased accessibility through smart technologies, in combination with an increased dependence on such has seen interaction with the media beginning earlier, as well as extending further, into an individual’s life. It is this concept that has caused widespread debate within society – ‘Is the dominance of technology limiting actual communication, thus making us less social?’.

With the arrival of email and mobile phones in the 1970’s, a decline in the overall dependence on physical communication styles began. Professor Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Shyness Survey, believed that the introduction of such technologies had begun to loosen the “social glue” of the regular contact humans exhibited. He argued that the society was heading towards “a new ice age” of non-communication, where the ability to go an entire day without physically communicating with others would be done at ease. In his context – a time where social networks and smartphones were something of sci-fi films, he had a point.

Flash forward 40 years, social media is in full swing (Facebook opens in 2004, as does MySpace), and the foundation for smartphone innovation – the iPhone, makes its entry into the technological marketplace (2007).  Communication has moved from purely a physical platform into the digital sphere. Sociologist Sherry Turkle describes the state of society as ‘alone together‘, referring to the idea that although people appear ‘alone’ in a physical sense they are in fact ‘together’ online.

Still, many argue that increased dependency on technologically based communication platforms encourages social-isolation amongst individuals. In one sense, this is true, however these platforms also provide those who struggle to communicate within a physical setting the opportunity to interact with a broader audience. On the other hand, many insist that it is not the time spent on technology that is making us less social, but rather the instances where you are taken away from the present – in one way damaging physical communication, as opposed to completely replacing it.

So maybe it isn’t the increased dependence on online communication platforms that is making us less social, but rather, our inability to remain present.

Let me know what you think; comment below.

Nate

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4 thoughts on “Alone Together and Radically Transparent

  1. This is a really interesting post. I believe it is entirely up to the person as to whether or not they are living in the present or not. You have a choice to either go out of your way to physically interact with someone, or hide behind your social devices. Being alone whilst also being together is also a good concept to link the current audience to. Our natural human instincts of wanting company are still there- but we just use the internet to communicate instead. What are your views on it though? You took a neutral stand-point on it (which is what I like to do as well), but if it came down to it, what is your personal interpretation? I think that’s what would make a post interesting. -V

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing! Personally I’d have to agree with you, it’s completely up to the individual. There always will be that human instinct to have companionship and physical interaction, but at the same time technology has become just as important in terms of communication. Neutral standpoint is always a good foundation for further discussion, but I completely understand where you’re coming from in terms of a personal interpretation, thanks again for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nate! I like how you tackled the ‘social media makes people anti-social’ debate, as it is one that seems to always appear. Your ability to see both sides of the debate was refreshing, as many seem to stick to one side. I, myself do not believe technology or social media makes us anti-social, but I have seen instances where people have blatantly avoided being social e.g. people with their eyes glued to their mobiles while out for lunch with another person. I liked how you made the point that technology can act as a crutch to help those who struggle to communicate in physical settings. Your writing is something I am keen to read more of in the future.
    Abby

    Like

    • Hey Abby – don’t worry, your little comment mishap has been deleted, no one will ever know haha.
      Thanks so much for your comment, this is quite a heavily debated topic so I thought it would only be appropriate to look at it from both points of view – especially in regards to people utilising media platforms as a ‘crutch’, as such. Thanks again for your comment.
      Nate

      Like

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