Sunday, March 4, 2012

Being more connected, but in a vulnerable way

 “The unavoidable delays in volleys of business communication before fax, before FedEx, and before E-mail, served as pauses for thought. A lawyer could reconsider a rash piece of mail while it was in the stenographer’s out-box. Decision could ferment during accidental slow periods.” (On Internet Time, Gleik)

While it is true that “being connected” promotes shared awareness among people, and makes collective actions of physically dispersed groups more feasible and powerful (Faster and faster, Shirky), “connectedness” also makes us more vulnerable in terms of dealing our personal relationship. That’s why I really like this this passage above in the Gleick article because it sharply points out the drawbacks that the seemingly perfect advanced technology and communication tools have brought to our lives, especially in small group relationships.

“Connectedness” is a direct result of the development of social tools that enabled us to do everything in a speedy manner; it is also a central theme of today’s societies and lives. We want everything as fast as possible, because we think we have more important things to do than spending time waiting, for anything. We think we are more productive and efficient this way. However, have we really done more meaningful things using the time we saved from leaving a Facebook message (instead of making a phone call) or online shopping (instead of shopping in stores)? No. We just leave more Facebook messages and shop at more online stores.  As Gleick says “The sate of being connected makes them more efficient –maybe even more nimble. Sadly, it also makes them feel busier – maybe even overloaded.” The simplification of life facilitated by technology is not always a good thing.   

As for as I witnessed, the sate of being connected also makes our interpersonal relationship vulnerable. People check out their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s Facebook page everyday and get fidgeted if they see some “suspicious” or “vague” replies, or tagged photos, or simply “friend requests”. We get annoyed when friends don’t reply our text message within ten minuets. The other day, I just got a little angry with my dad because I waited for thirty minutes to Facetime with him but he couldn’t connect to wifi. How did we become such impatient and insecure while ten years ago, we could wait for a week to speak with our parents over the phone or wait for months for an oversea postcard to arrive. It is true that we are more connected, but such connectedness, while amplified our network with others, also weakened our bond with the ones that really matter to us. 


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  2. Amber, I liked your post especially how with great technology we have become rather impatient. This video clip of comedian Louis CK puts a humorous spin on our epic impatience