TED Conversations

Meg Robinson

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What constitutes shared experience in the twenty-first century?

How has our concept of shared experience evolved, particularly in light of digital technology? Are we more or less connected to one another? Is there a qualitative hierarchy of types of communication which are more or less fulfilling?

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Closing Statement from Meg Robinson

Sumesh, you make an excellent point about this hypothetical factory worker. For many people, it could be the case that they have mundane and perhaps difficult relationships in the real world. For these people, access to a broader array of people through digital communications is a form of enrichment and expansion of one's intellectual and emotional life.

To summarize, there are many types of shared experiences in our lives – some of them are in person some occur digitally. They each have advantages and disadvantages but the mixture of the two will be a part of our lives in the 21st-century. The key point is to be aware of the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each form of communication so that we do not live an unbalanced life where the digital takes over face to face in person relationships. We need to take charge of when and how we use technology so that we retain the richness and depth of what it means to fully human.

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    Jan 18 2014: I am a person who finds it easier to express her true emotions through writing, rather than speaking, but I have been this way my hole life. When you are actually talking to someone there is no delete button, but if you write something, and your think you could have worded it better, all that you have to do is erase it and you can fix it. There is a way to fix your mistake, while you are speaking to a person, but it is a great deal more difficult. You can avoid ever saying the thing that you need to fix if it is written, and that is why a lot of people prefer writing, however, I enjoy human interaction even more. There is one thing that a computer can not give you and that is compassion. A computer can not hug you, wipe your tears, and tell you that everything is ok, so if you are afraid of talking, because you think you will make a mistake, always remember that problems can be solved, and the risk is worth taking, because there is nothing more comforting than human interaction.

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