The social community; have we lost touch of our true selves?

As I have been reading some of the articles. I have been thinking about the many challenges of social networking, such as privacy, surveillance, and identity within the cyberspace community. Throughout these weeks I have been focusing more on the themes/issues relating to censoring information that people post or upload via Facebook and Twitter. For instance, I mentioned in my minor blog post about Facebook that users should ensure that what they post or upload will not hurt them down the road. However, I don’t think that censoring/surveillance of personal information is as important as people may think. For instance, I feel if we do not change our dependence on and habits with these online environments, we can never express to be our true selves in our society.

Two articles written by Sherry Turkle, The Flight From Conversation and Places We Don’t Want to Go, focus on the problem of technology within a new generation. One of the topics Turkle writes about is the dependence on technology. She mentions in her article about a 16 year old she interviewed who told her, “maybe someday, someday I’d like to learn how to have a conversation” (Turkle, 2012).  This suggests that these online habits (Facebook, Twitter, BBM, texting, emailing) are making us feel that conversations are difficult because we don’t have the ability to edit as we talk. Mitchellian Riposte writes that the “concept of being ’alone together’ reinforces innate desires within us for mere connection, sacrificing conversation in the process. If surveillance was truly a concern to a large proportion of the population, such flight from conversation would not exist”.

In high school and college, English wasn’t my strongest subject; sure, I could write a story or a screenplay. But, when it came down to writing academic papers, I would be stuck. I sometimes get mixed up with my words, especially, ‘there’ vs ‘their.’ Or, when expressing my thoughts out loud I tend to ramble. I feel that sometimes this gives a lot of people the impression that I am not knowledgeable, am inadequate, or am not capable of doing a great job. Meanwhile, I am actually very dedicated, goal-oriented, and a hard working individual. If I put my mind to something I would kill any job!

People tend to be very judgmental in our society, and so I can see why nowadays teenagers and young adults tend to have a hard time engaging in conversation. Texting, e-mailing, and posting allow us to present the self we want to be within the social community (Turkle, 2012).  At least online we have spell check and grammar check – (or a story editor to edit our papers). ”This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can press delete” (Turkle, 2012).

The question remains: are we so attached to our keyboards and touch screens that we have lost touch with ourselves and our true identity? Are we afraid to be ourselves in public, or is cyberspace just easier? It is true what Turkle says that these, “little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t even change what we do, they change who we are” (2012). That question is still up for debate.


Sherry Turkle. The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012

Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012


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