The Disconnected Connection
First look at the disconnected zombies
There is a common idea floating around that because technology has made a turn to these devices that people have somehow become these disconnected zombies. This very well may be true, but on a very similar note, has it not also created an extension of the very world we live in? Some may argue that there are more possibilities now than ever to stay connected in this world. Not only that but also the fact that we are able to grow our network further and farther out. Someone in the U.S. can have a long and lasting friendship with someone in the Philippines. They may not even be related and this is a similar idea to the connections people use to make by creating pen pals. The difference now is that those connections are also instant and the responses no longer take weeks or months to come back to you. This is a great idea, but is that connection just as strong as one a person may be able to have with the live human sitting right across from you in that coffee bar?
In James Stafford’s article posted on LinkedIn titled “The Digital Experience and Design,” he discusses Margaret’s TED.com talk where she divulges into her experience with the Internet1. What was interesting is the notation about how much actually is processed over the web within a minute, hour, or day. You have Google searches, Facebook posts, and YouTube uploads. All of these have been ways people connect with one another. Take for example Fred McConnell, a writer for theguardian.com, who likes to surf YouTube for fail videos and loves to laugh at them. What he ended up discovering was these stories that he may never have come across from all around the world. These stories that made him realize that in the end, we are not all that different2.
Both of these men discuss the vast wonderland that is the Internet and how it can cross these boundaries that have been placed within society. Some may cheer it as a wondrous idea. Some may look at this stark shift and run for dear life.
Mateo Sol, an author on a site called Loner Wolf, wrote an article titled “Eternally Connected: How Technology Disconnects You From Yourself.” While this article was a reflection on himself while comparing his experiences with the rest of the world, it is hard to image that what he feels and wonders is not the very same concern the rest of the world has as well. That with all this information, technology, and wonders of the Internet, that we as human beings are just becoming merely distracted from the world of life around us3.
In his example, he pointed out that before he had moments of tranquility where he was alone with his own thoughts. He might have mentioned he was typically spending a brief moment alone in a restroom but the idea remains the same. He had those moments to himself. Now he has a “smart phone” where he can read the news, stay connected, receive a like and check to see who it was, find out about his uncle, learn that there was a disaster that took place on the other side of the globe, or maybe just listen to some music. Either way, this device of his was not allowing for that moment of tranquility he once received.
Albert Einstein's take
There is a saying that allegedly Albert Einstein has said; however, the website Quote Investigator has all but debunked it by cross-referencing different versions to catalogued quotes from Einstein4. The famous quote is attributed to a meme created in 2012 about how he feared technology may surpass humanity and by then the world will just be made up of idiots. The reality is that Einstein probably did not say that, at least not in the same context it is currently being used. He may have worried people will eventually develop a detachment from live society, but the man behind many of the profound physic equations we all have come to know and love probably was detached a bit himself. Somehow, I am pretty okay with that.
As it stands now, society has reached a crossing. On one side is the usually people that do not want to accept any form of change. That change being the way we as a world communicate with each other. We have reached the technology age. This means that our forms of communication will evolve as such. The other side of the road is the people paving a new path. They are the ones that will in the end decide how technology is actually crafting, molding, changing the way we talk to each other. This is comprised of educators, kids, geniuses, and the everyday folk that embrace these changes. Does this mean we have actually become disconnected with society, with life, with the world as a whole?
In some ways, the old concept of how we communicate has changed. We no longer look at life as the instant moment where all is lost, but at the same time we have decided that the world is worth cataloguing and preserving for future generations. I guess we have to accept the good with the bad in some areas.
1Stafford, James. (Apr. 2015). The Digital Experience and Design. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-experience-design-james-stafford
2McConnell, Fred. (Apr. 2015). Ash Flanders on Meme Girls and the strange world of YouTube culture. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/apr/24/ash-flanders-meme-girls-youtube-culture
3Sol, Mateo. (2012). Eternally Connected: How Technology Disconnects You From Yourself. Retrieved from http://lonerwolf.com/technology-disconnects/
4Quote Investigator. (Mar. 2013). I Fear the Day That Technology Will Surpass Our Human Interaction. Retrieved from http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/19/tech-surpass/