TED Conversations

Sherry Turkle


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Live Q&A with Sherry Turkle: How has digital technology changed the kind of communications you have with your friends, family & co-workers?

This Live conversation with TED speaker Sherry Turkle will open on April 12th, 2pm EDT.

How has digital technology changed the kind of communications you have with your friends, family & co-workers?

Topics: social media

Closing Statement from Sherry Turkle

This has been a wonderful experience for me. I get to see how many people view my talk, but not what they are thinking. So hearing what you are thinking was great! And it sounds like a lot of people are struggling to balance conversation with connection and actually becoming better at sensing the difference. I’m optimistic. And I like it that people are actively thinking about how to create real spaces at home and work to pay more attention to each other, to really listen to each other. Thank you.

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    Apr 12 2012: I find it interesting how online and offline persona can be so different that I cannot deal with some of my offline friends online (maybe because they spam me with game requests on Facebook, but mostly because they have a way of writing that I interpret in a way or that sounds so odd that I take offense when reading it). Or the other way round - I had an online friend years ago and his dialect is so strange that I have to resort to written language to understand him.

    And on the same line, it also helps when talking to friends that speak a different language and have a strong accent - both sides have more time to parse what the person said and nobody has to feel ashamed for mispronouncing things. This works well with some of my international coworkers, and/or also friends.
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      Apr 12 2012: Dear Judith,

      When we go online, it is often the case that we experiment with identity -- online life can be a kind of "identity workshop." This is one of they things that first fascinated me about the online world. We can play with identity and bring what we learn to live better and fuller lives in the real -- at least hopefully.

      But one thing that can happen is that people sometimes create an idealized self in the virtual and they lose track of themselves. Their online life can become alienating not helpful. This is of course different for different people and can even change over time.

      The story you tell of being able to talk online with people of different nationalities is of course very moving . . . one of the positive uses of messaging rather than talking, I suppose!
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        Apr 12 2012: Hello Sherry! Thanks for the reply!

        I agree this can be very moving, but even those people would probably prefer a real life conversation. After having had so and so many online discussions, arguments, debates, brainstorming sessions or whatever, for certain types of conversation, nothing beats seeing the reaction in people's faces.

        It's sad how it is hard to get those reactions though because people are withdrawing, since faking a communication is so much easier than actually having one, it doesn't involve, well, "involvement". You can just close the tab. Especially when it comes to something that goes further than exchanging facts, actually debating, having insights, inspiring each other, and speaking to people's hearts I suppose. Thanks for your talk by the way, I much enjoyed it and sent it to all my friends. :)

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