Reclaiming Conversation

The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

by Sherry Turkle 
Description:

Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivityand why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.

We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over thirty years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don’t have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves.

We develop a taste for what mere connection offers. The dinner table falls silent as children compete with phones for their parents’ attention. Friends learn strategies to keep conversations going when only a few people are looking up from their phones. At work, we retreat to our screens although it is conversation at the water cooler that increases not only productivity but commitment to work. Online, we only want to share opinions that our followers will agree with – a politics that shies away from the real conflicts and solutions of the public square.

The case for conversation begins with the necessary conversations of solitude and self-reflection. They are endangered: these days, always connected, we see loneliness as a problem that technology should solve. Afraid of being alone, we rely on other people to give us a sense of ourselves, and our capacity for empathy and relationship suffers. We see the costs of the flight from conversation everywhere: conversation is the cornerstone for democracy and in business it is good for the bottom line. In the private sphere, it builds empathy, friendship, love, learning, and productivity.

But there is good news: we are resilient. Conversation cures.

Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Turkle argues that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us and that the time is right to reclaim conversation. The most human–and humanizing–thing that we do.

The virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and our most basic technology, talk, responds to our modern challenges. We have everything we need to start, we have each other.


Subjects: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS, Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies 

Publisher: Penguin
Date: 2016-09-26
Pages: 448
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1 Comment
  1. Sudhir 3 weeks ago

    Direct face to face communication is being constantly eroded today through latest technology like whatsapp. People are also losing their ability to spell correctly or write in grammatically correct sentences as they are depending on the Artificial Intelligence in their smartphones to auto correct their writings. People not only prefer to chat online nowadays but are also very uncomfortable, afraid and reluctant to use direct face to face communication in order to express their feelings and opinions. They prefer to hide behind an electronic device like a smartphone when communicating their thoughts and feelings. Society will lose its humanity and empathy . What it means to be a society of genuinely lively, confident and expressive individuals is totally being destroyed. We will end up becoming a society of wired up robots where communication becomes cold and unfeeling and where we cannot think critically anymore. A dumbed down robotic society is the outcome. Therefore, its crucial we reverse these negative trends by making compulsory face to face public speaking, debates and other direct face to face communication activities among students in school and universities. Students who cannot communicate effectively face to face should not be allowed to pass their courses.

    Sudhir did not rate this post.

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