TED Conversations

Jim Moonan

Owner/Artistic Director, NorthWind Education


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Are we over-socialized or under-socialized? Is it possible that we could be both?

Has social media and technology such as email, twitter, digital photography and smart phones Created a false sense of social connection?

I think socialization has in many respects been supplanted by "virtual" socialization.

What are the pros and cons of virtual socialization? Who benefits from it and what are its limitations?

What are the differences between virtual socialization and the traditional form of socialization (two or more people interacting on a personal basis)?


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    Aug 25 2011: I am from what's now being called the "Me" generation. The intent behind product innovation/marketing always seems to be personalization, which is an exasperating patronization to me. Stop telling me what I want. You denigrate my authenticity.

    I was the last of my friends to own a cellphone, and the last to use facebook by about a year. However, I have grown to embrace that I live in a time where forums like TED facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst laymen. Affirming otherwise would make a hypocrite of me.

    This expressed, I admit that nothing makes me cringe more than witnessing a group of young adults sitting together, texting other people or even each other from across the table. One of my own friends has developed the Blackberry phenotype. He will continuously text absent people when I am right across the table. When this happens I feel an inexorable urge to grab him by the collar, slap him and exclaim; "You are really here! This is really happening!" Sadly I've grown apart from this friend, given that he has lost the ability to communicate the contents of his imagination.

    My experience is that people my age have a terrible time expressing themselves via vocabulary. The use of grammar is defaced beyond recognition, likely due to neglect in the faction of reading/writing.

    People are increasingly impatient. Why read a book if I can watch a movie? Why walk when I can drive? Why cook when I can order? Why take the time to say something when I can text? There is a severe under-appreciation for the low-strata quality. The convention is; "If my senses aren't saturated, then it's a second-rate experience."

    How then can a human relish in his/her genuine existence?

    Should I hold-fast in the face of these ambiguous cultural winds? Will I be left behind? Are my love of fine lecture, crafted beer and genuine self-reflection doomed to be conquered by this machine of exponential growth, intense sensations and augmented reality?

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