Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Always On...

Sherry Turkle's article on being tethered had a very salient quote, "Human beings are skilled at creating rituals for demarcating the boundaries between the world of work and the world of family, play and relaxation. There are special times (the Sabbath), special meals (the family dinner), special attire (the armor for a day's labor comes off at home, whether it is the businessman's suit or the laborer's overalls), special places (the dining room, the parlor, the bedroom, the beach). Now always-on/always-on-me technology accompanies people to all of these places, undermining the traditional rituals of separation." 

I have a few thoughts which are seemingly contradictory in nature. First of all, we have allowed the world to enter our private, person, family, play time, and this can make creating rituals more difficult if not impossible. However, I wonder if this constant tethering is a symptom of a inherent need to be connected. Increased connectivity and availability can facilitate community. 

Is it possible to stay connected with "community" and with the person (family member, friend, lover) sitting in front of you? Doesn't respect and love demand complete attention? As the article said, adults who remember how we were BEFORE connectivity are the ones having the hardest time adjusting. The term "crackberry" comes to mind. 

How do we achieve balance? 


  1. Sue, I think you bring up some really great questions here. As an avid technology user, I am constantly connected to my phone. I use it all the time for checking facebook, twitter or email while on the bus, waiting in line, or during a particularly boring class. However, I adhere strongly to a few personal rules for tech use. The phone is off limits when I sit down to a meal, especially if at a restaurant. When traveling with another person in a car, I will not have a lengthy phone conversation with someone else. And, the phone gets shut off when spending time outdoors, camping or visiting a park. These times are mine to relax and zone out.

    However, my mother has very different phone rules. She's very enthusiastic about her new smart phone and uses her phone to do nearly everything. Her computer has been touched for probably six months now. If something comes up that she needs to do, like remembering to call in a prescription or schedule an appointment, she'll call it in immediately, no matter than we're out to a family dinner and about ready to order. While I would use my phone to schedule a reminder during a time I know I won't be busy, she needs to handle the task instantaneously.

    I guess the closest thing I can come to an answer to your question is that it IS possible, it's just that each person has a different opinion of what that looks like. And I think you've brought up something that's very near and dear to my heart. :)

  2. Sue, I think it is all about thoughtfully constructing your life.

    I don't have a smart phone and neither does my husband. We talk at dinner, in the car, at home and at our friends' gatherings. I rarely engage with Facebook on the weekends as that time is reserved for my personal projects, husband, friends and family and if the stars align - a nap.

    I resent anyone being able to reach me at any time for any reason. Maybe that is selfish or antisocial but I truly enjoy my weekends, relationships and my work - because I can escape.

    Many of my friends are the opposite but many of them have failed relationships, are stressed and not happy at their workplaces.

    Like Frances said, it IS possible but it is whatever works for you and makes you a happier person.