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View Diary: The Next Big Thing (why "all tech, all the time" fails us) (105 comments)

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  •  What is 'meaningful', though? (1+ / 0-)
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    I wonder if some of this comes from our attempts to what we older people believe about our social context to apply it to a new social context where it may not fit.  Certainly the the types of things we group up considering meaningful may not apply, but are kids today really isolated?  Do they not have meaningful relationships within their own context?  The kids I work with all have their own challenges, but they're well-adjusted and healthy and thoughtful in their own ways.  

    Or to flip it backwards: are these alleged declining values like institutional integrity, understanding, wisdom, insight, and true global awareness any more in evidence in the past, pre- the modern high-tech age?  High tech certainly hasn't solved many of these problems, but I don't see them as any worse.  They may just be unrelated to each other.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:16:08 PM PDT

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    •  Do they not have meaningful relationships (0+ / 0-)

      I have kids and have a lot of contact with kids. The tech-connectedness of kids is also a buffer. Why text rather than talk? It's less real, less confrontational of reality - "I think you're a jerk" via text is a much easier thing than "I think you're a jerk" via conversation.

      I cited the young scientists I worked with - they did, generally speaking, lack a certain social/interactive quality - is that why they preferred the virtual learning environment they were constructing? It suited their weakness?

      Not to over simplify, but wasn't the creator of Facebook at Harvard a semi-social dweeb who lacked the ability to look a woman in the face and say he needed and wanted her? So he creates a buffer interface to overcome his weakness.

      Do any of you get frustrated when you feel the NEED to see a person face to face, "read" what's going on with that other person, bring the fullness of yourself to that other person, but an email discussion/meeting is what suffices?

      Much of the social media tech has the effect of favoring  less skilled social human beings and gaining advantage for socially wary or inept. It covers for them. Looking forward, what inherent attributes and personal skills will be favored by this tech arrangement - full throated human beings or tech-savvy dweebs?

      •  Not to over simplify, but (0+ / 0-)

        you're dealing with scientists, so adjust your expectations about social interaction, heh.  Joking, I promise!

        On a more serious note: the problem I have with your argument is that it doesn't seem like there's evidence of young people having 'less meaningful' relationships with each other or being less able to communicate meaningfully... but that you are having less trouble communicating with them.  I think this is a crucial distinction.  Social studies of the impact of tech on communication have an innate problem of confirmation bias, because they're generally written from, and on the expectations of, the experimenter.  Hard to avoid that sort of thing.

        Here's my hypothesis: it doesn't matter, and it was always this way.  Victor Hugo blamed the printing press on the decline in spirituality and the inability of his contemporary Europeans to understand and appreciate the the heft of cultural heritage that proceeded them.  He may have been right as such, but it also created a new context where the old system of beliefs were now somewhat arbitrary.  Put two generations side-by-side, and their values won't overlap, which they (too often) take as a sign of moribund values on the part of the other.

        Same here.  Kids are not only using technology in ways that are still foreign and detached from us, but they're negotiating that world in a far more savvy way, and one that doesn't always click with us, because we come to the conversation with a different set of expectations.  They're setting their own rules, and they're finding (and expressing) their own sense of meaningfulness in their own ways.

        In twenty, thirty years we'll be in retirement homes and they'll be wondering why their own children can't communicate the same way they do.  And on, and on, and on.  

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 12:04:29 PM PDT

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