I think an interesting Tech/no speaker for Bucknell would be Sherry Turkle, a professor of the social studies of science and technology at MIT. She recently wrote a book entitles Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, which discusses the issue regarding a decrease in social interaction due to technology. In a Ted talk that she hosted, Turkle mentions that people may be keeping in contact with each other more, but actually conversing less. And she credits technology as the source of the problem.

One aspect of her talk I found particularly interesting was her description of a phenomenon she refers to as the Goldilocks effect, in which technology allows people to keep their distance while maintaining a conversation. They can tune in for the interesting parts, and tune out when they find things boring. I can see this happening every day on campus and with friends, and am even guilty of it myself. People text, read emails, shop online, and check facebook all while sitting in a class or with a group friends, only listening when they want to. I can recall times when I’ll be sitting in a room with a group of people, yet everyone will be doing their own thing, not really paying attention to the people around them.

Another element to this is that texting and emailing allows us to edit our conversations. At one point during her talk, Turkle tells a story about a young man who does not like having conversations because he cannot predict what he’s going to say. As a child of parents who always demanded dinnertime without cell phones, I was startled by his statement, but have come across similar issues.

I think Sherry Turkle offers a unique perspective on the use of technology as a psychologist and a social studies professor, and would bring an interesting lecture to our campus. And a discussion that is very relevant to our lives today. Our use of technology is only going to grow in the years to come, and people will begin to need to make a shift away from it, instead of always following in its path.

6 responses »

  1. Matt says:

    Great title. I completely agree I think a speaker like this would be a good wake-up call for our generation. It really is pathetic how many people can’t handle a face-to-face conversation, but love to text nonstop. It is similar to that argument that we are always connected due to our devices, but miss the real connections in every day life because of it. I think a renowned speaker like this could send a shockwave through at least some of us, and is a great recommendation.

  2. Steph P. says:

    I love the title as well and believe she would be a wonderful speaker to come to Bucknell. As the years progress we have become addicted to technology, and it has made our communications more and more impersonal. It makes me sad to see a group of “friends” sitting together when eyes are glued on their phones and not each other. Or when people wait in lines by themselves and check their phones for imaginary messages – all for the sole purpose of avoiding personal contact. What amazes me, is that we live in a society ( and go to a university) where personal networking is what gets us ahead. If we use that mentality for business, why does it not carry over to our personal lives? Most importantly, do we not value a relationship with our peers as much as we value a relationship with our careers?

  3. Loukas T says:

    After reading this post and eric’s post, there are very clear parallels. With technology being entrenched in how we run our lives and our relationships, sometimes we need to get away from it in order to make strong bonds and gain some perspective. Eric mentions in his post that he spent 48 hours alone, away from people, technology, and civilization on a camping trip. Sherry Turkle would definitely agree with this exercise in order for us to appreciate face to face conversations more rather than electronic ones.

  4. Jordi says:

    CSA? =? I love the title, but need a translation, please.

  5. Jordi says:

    People text, read emails, shop online, and check facebook all while sitting in a class


    In MY class?!?!

    What is the best reaction for a professor to make?

  6. […] CSA Spkr 4 Tech/No Talk…kk? gtg (bizgovsocvii.wordpress.com) […]

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