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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Choir And The Monkey

Books of non-fiction able to disinter my judging monkey are usually wise to avoid. So, if anyone would like to discount my unabashed praise for "Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk In A Digital Age" (2015) by pointing out the irony of a blogger extolling a book with this title, I'll save you the trouble: guilty as charged. Caveat #2: Author Sherry Turkle was - in my case -  clearly preaching to the choir in her scrupulously researched book. And I say this fully aware of the dangers of confirmation bias. But judging, irony, and confirmation bias aside, I sincerely believe our modern era desperately needs to hear the message Turkle delivers here.

"Early on, computers offered the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship and then, as the programs got really good, the illusion of friendship without the demands of intimacy."

"But human relationships are rich, messy and demanding. When we clean them up with technology, we move from conversation to the efficiency of mere connection."

"Every time you check your phone in company, what you gain is a hint of stimulation, a neurochemical shot, and what you lose is what a friend, teacher, parent, lover, or co-worker just said, meant, or felt."

I could continue citing gems like the above for several screens. I could also insert any number of Turkle's startling statistics. How about this? The average American adult checks their phone once every six and one half minutes. But it makes more sense for those already saying amen to instead read this book and then to gently evangelize on its behalf. As I do so, my biggest challenge will be keeping that judging monkey at bay. Wish me luck.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, Turkle's recent book is phenomenal indeed, because the author really fears for the demise of face-to face conversation. She rightly advises all of us to "push back against viewing the world as one great app." My daughters, 27 and 29, are millennials who now seem to balance their phones and face-to-face conversations with great skill. My younger daughter, an actress and TV personality, recently posted a selfie on Instagram that has garnered 889 likes and 77 comments thus far. No joke. But these young women have adapted through the past few years to understand the age and expectations of their audience concerning communication.
    For people in their sixties like us, Pat, face time is much more precious. We realize that life is short. So let's talk.