Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the loneliness of technology?

Dick Staub and a panel of bloggers recently discussed the following fascinating question on their live radio show: Can The Inklings face-to-face pub experience be replaced with online interaction?

Various intriguing aspects related to this question arose. One that caught my attention was this: Does online interaction increase our (western, 1st world) isolation from community, from *real* others? Or does it decrease that aloneness?

Apparently there is an already large and growing body of research (for instance, check out this search on google scholar) on what is termed "computer mediated community" or CMC. Wikipedia has an interesting overview as well

"Michael Keren, who has written Blogosphere: The New Political Arena, suggests individuals who bare their souls in blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world." (from this provocative article).

I remember Mother Teresa talking about how while the third world has a poverty of basic stuff like food/water, the 1st world has a poverty of community. In blogging about how to MTWABP, are we somehow exacerbating our separation from each other, and our separation from those in least developed countries (for whom internet access is fairly far down the list of "things we don't have which we'd like to get")?

1 comment:

Megs said...

you are brilliant my husband! i think it's real contact, on the internet, but not nearly so good as telephoning, which is not nearly so good as skyping, which is not nearly so good as in the flesh interaction...