The Question Matters


Are We Too Connected?

Posted in Change,Generation X,Generation Y by treyfinley1008 on December 28, 2009

Surely, then, there is such a thing as being too connected. You turn on the BlackBerry to check for e-mail messages even before you’ve brushed your teeth. You insert the iPod ear buds for the drive to work. You boot up the computer at work, dismayed at all the spam that pours forth. Throughout the day you regularly check your e-mail, knowing your boss will be irked if you miss a message. At the end of the day, you return home and head for the computer to inundate your senses with yet more imagery and data. When are you alone with your own thoughts? When does the distraction of distractions cease? In Christine Rosen’s words, “Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises — a surer sense of who we are and where we belong?”

Robert Sibley, The Ottawa Citizen

I wrote a while back about the strong filters present in Generation X and Y.  We know how to interact with an overwhelming amount of information, sort through it, and pick out what is meaningful.  What’s your filter like?  Have you set your personal filter so high that ideas differing from your own aren’t getting through?  This is the bigger question.  Because relationships are evolving with technology (as they did with other major communication advances in the last 500 years), I don’t fear becoming “over-connected.”

Technological change is inevitable, as are the resulting changes in the ways in which we build our relationships.  Technology is value-neutral.  Our use of it is not.  Secluding ourselves from ideas that differ from our own was as much a danger in a world of three television channels (think choosing the national news broadcast you chose to watch) as it is in a world of billions of emails and trillions of web pages.

A word of advice today–subscribe to a Twitter feed whose author you disagree with.  Read a blog by someone who’s younger (or older) than you.  When you do, the world of social media becomes more formative and less seclusive.

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