for Natural News on Jan. 29, 2011
Modern society seems convinced that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter keep them connected and thriving socially with their friends and peers. But a new book called Alone Together by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Sherry Turkle says otherwise, purporting that social networks are more like mutual isolation networks that detach people from meaningful interactions with one another and make them less human.
"A behavior that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological," says Turkle in her book, referring to the near-total obsession with the digital world in today's society. She and others say that the online social world is destroying real communication, dumbing down society, and leading to a society of people that have no idea how to actually function in the real world.
Turkle emphasizes her belief that more people need to put down their phones, turn off their computers, and learn to communicate with one another face-to-face. She writes, "We have invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us." And many others in research and academia share her views.
One major indicator of the chilling decline in communication values is the case of Simone Back, a Brighton, U.K., woman who announced her suicide on her Facebook status. None of her more than 1,000 "friends" contacted her in response to the posting, and many simply argued with one another back and forth on her "Wall" about the legitimacy of her posting and whether or not Back had the freedom of choice to kill herself.
This sick display of meaningless Facebook "friendship" is only fuel for the fire to the many who say it represents the "writing on the wall" of worse things to come. If individuals cannot learn to interact and develop meaningful relationships outside the narcissistic, soap opera-environment of the Facebook "News Feed," then society is in for some major trouble down the road.
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