In her book entitled “Alone together”, Sherry Turkle tackles various ideas of how social technology effects our lives, and how it use to be before and after introducing the internet to the community. Even though people tend to use internet as a way to be always connected to one another yet, internet could be used for the exact opposite purpose, which is to be isolated from one another and, to extreme extent, from ourselves.
Turkle quoted “This is the experience of living full time on the Net, newly free in some ways, newly yoked in others. We are all cyborgs now” in order to pin point the terrifying idea that people are more like robots now than they ever were, that they are living in their own virtual world rather than the world they are actually living to the extent that they became more like cyborgs in the real world and humans in their virtual world. They create there own lives, adjust what need to be adjusted, edit or delete their day to day interactions and live the life they always wanted to have, in other words to be in full control with their life. People can be in control of their lives by showing others, through social networking by sharing a thought on facebook ,highly edited pictures on instagram or sharing moments they think they enjoy on snapchat, the things that they want to be seen and hide the things that they do not want to reveal them, which makes them forget their true identity. And they also use these social networking to gain knowledge of what happens around the world and what people close to them are doing. People became so dependent on their social networking lives to the extent that they do not have quality time with their own selves or with the people who actually matters like family. We always witness this scene were a group of people sitting together with each other holding their phones twitting about how they are having fun with the ones that they are with when in fact they do not talk to each other or did anything “fun” with their outing, Even modern families has this issue of being together but absolutely alone. Turkle mentioned a high school girl who complains about how her mother does not talk to her when she picks her up from school every day and rather look down on the phone. Another example that was mentioned in Turkle’s book was a widower who his wife died and after a year from her death, he invited a fifty year old women who kept blogging their private conversation while they were actually having it, and he thought she was being rude and explained why he thinks she did that when he said “His guest, living the life mix, sees her evening as an occasion to appear on a larger virtual stage”. My family has this kind of issue were whenever there is a gathering my siblings, father and I are on our cell phones, we barely talk or ask about how are we doing, Even though we might leave our phones to satisfy my mother who hates this habit, we talk about things that we saw or read online. This example shows how people cannot, by any means, be separated from their social networking life because it can provide us the possibility to know everything and to edit anything that is why we desire it the most.
However, social networking and internet do not always harm the community like it seems, people can use these kind of technology to keep in touch with close friends or family living abroad, it can provide another, cheaper, alternative to stay in contact with others, even Turkle mentioned that it made it so much easier to stay in contact with her daughter who was living abroad at a time and i remember the same thing happened with my mother who used Facebook call and Skype to call my sister when she did a semester abroad. Technology can be used, if used correctly, to decrease thousands of miles between loved ones. I also was benefited when my ex girlfriend traveled to continue with her college degree in an abroad university and for a year, thanks to technology, we could stay in contact everyday, knowing everything about each other without feeling distant. Moreover, Technology can save enormous amount of time, nowadays any businessmen can make deals with people from all around the world that could benefit the community without traveling for days and meeting them in person. Another benefit is that people can learn about anything and read hundreds of books on the internet which can help the less fortunate to educate themselves and benefit the society and be updated with everything around that is happening.
In my opinion, the usage of internet can determine if it is harmful or beneficial for their users. I personally use technology in a small possible way and people perceive me as old school kind of personality even though I use these social networking applications exactly as they do but spending less time compared to them and I find great that I dont depend that much on it compared to others.
To conclude, nowadays we cannot be blind to the benefit the technology has given us but also we cannot be blind to the harmful effects that it caused. Thus, we have to be careful on how we use it.