Christian Long

Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet Enables Intimacy

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Extra credit reflection by SYLVIA A.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Stefana Broadbent:  How the Internet Enables Intimacy

The wonders of technology always get my little mind tingling. I really enjoy seeing how all of this progress is shaping our world, because change is happening fast. As for this talk, it did have a bit of truth to it but I disagreed with its general principle.

First off I would like to address the speaker’s ability to deliver her talk. Overall her speech was a bit shaky and rushed at points where her nerves were evident, but we are all human. Just as I could tell she was nervous, I could also tell she was an expert on this and she knew what she was talking about. Despite those silly human flaws we all have, I think she did a good job having to explain a complex and difficult topic to convey, dealing with social intimacy.

Now on to her actual argument, that technological communication deepens intimacy. I’m not sure I really agreed with this. With the advent of all these new technologies she listed like IM, texting, Skype, and Facebook we have actually lessened intimacy in my own opinion. We use these as modes of communication to create an almost false sense of intimacy. In turn we begin developing a deep connection with these forms of technologies instead of the people they connect us with! Most teenagers are unable to function if they are grounded from their phones. Due to my own personal beliefs I really couldn’t connect with this part of her talk.

The part I did connect with was when she talked about how it’s socially acceptable now to bring in your personal life into our work and school environments. In the past, we were very dutiful to these two huge institutions, work and school. There was no such thing as cell phones so therefore, no threat of texting in class. The institutions had the power because they had our attention and focus. As Ms. Broadbent stated, in recent years these institutions have lost that power. New technologies have become viral. They have also been incorporated into workplaces and schools so there really is no escaping the ugly outcome-people have more opportunities to communicate so they lose interest and work ethic. Now this isn’t done because all people have evolved into lazy cavemen with their eyes glued to the screen. It’s expected that once your focus is divided, the involvement of your ‘personal sphere’ in your work sphere and vice versa, neither will get the same attention as it used to. That is why I believe, as I previously stated, that real intimacy and focus on the workplace/school have lessened these past years.

If Ms. Broadbent would have taken some these other aspects that affect the type of intimacy that is being exchanged, her talk would have been better received. She skimmed the surface on a topic that has much more depth than anyone knows what to do with, but otherwise bravo for trying to tackle such a complicated issue.

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