Sherry Turkle is a professor and psychologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her specialty is the study of the relationship between people and machines. Turkle’s latest book carries somewhat of an indictment beginning with its very title, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. In a recent interview, she responded to a question about how some folks are so addicted to their phones that they take them to bed with them (Mark Fischetti “The Networked Primate” Scientific American, September 2014, pp. 83–85):
“I’m doing a case study of a young woman who has 2,000 followers on Instagram. She’ll ask about a problem at 9:00 at night, and at 2:00 in the morning she’s getting responses, and she’s awake to get those responses.” (p. 84)
I am certain that Turkle’s case study is just one scenario among many. For some people, social media’s draw is so compelling that they cannot turn it off at night. As Turkle affirms, it has created a new style of being:
“I share, therefore I am.”
A great philosopher once said:
“I think, therefore I am.” (Rene Descartes)
Perhaps we need to do more thinking and less sharing.