Staying Connected, Virtually: What We Lose Online

Apr 1, 2020

For years, Sherry Turkle has researched how technology is pushing people apart. But in the face of a global pandemic, is technological communication the thing that’s bringing us together?


Sherry Turkle, professor of the social studies of science and technology at MIT.  Author of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age.” (@sturkle)

From The Reading List

The New York Times: “Coronavirus Ended the Screen-Time Debate. Screens Won.” — “Before the coronavirus, there was something I used to worry about. It was called screen time. Perhaps you remember it.”

NBC News: “The coronavirus pandemic drove life online. It may never return.” — “For many Americans, a typical day right now might look something like this: Roll out of bed and check the smartphone. Open up a laptop and file for unemployment benefits through a website. Set up an online education portal for children out of school. Check in with a doctor through a telemedicine portal. Read news on Twitter. Buy groceries through Amazon. Watch stories on Instagram. Binge on Netflix. Connect with a group of friends on a Zoom video chat.”

CNET: “Coronavirus could make us wary of hugs, shape our social habits for years” — “Imagine it’s early 2021. The coronavirus pandemic ended months ago and life looks much like it did before any of us ever heard of social distancing. And yet, when you reach out to shake a colleague’s hand at a business meeting, you get awkward hesitation and a suggested elbow bump.”

Miami Herald: “Distanced by coronavirus, we’re living in virtual reality and missing actual people” — “Your new virtual day in your new virtual life: Fitness class online at 7 a.m. Go to work on your laptop for remote conference calls, presentations, meetings. If you are a student or teacher, classes via Zoom. Stock up on necessities by ordering food, toilet paper, vodka, CBD gummies, shampoo and, if you’re a gun owner, ammo, on the internet. You adopted a German shepherd puppy, so your obedience training group has a session online, interrupted by the recalcitrant pug.”

The Conversation: “The coronavirus lockdown could test your relationship. Here’s how to keep it intact (and even improve it)” — “With the raft of social distancing measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus, you may be spending more time with your partner than ever before.”

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