Monday, February 22, 2010

Technology trumps sociability

Technology has certainly improved our lives in many ways, and given us new opportunities, of which blogging is an example--I can now get my jollies writing for readers from around the block to Australia.

But technology seems to have a price. Since blogging is easier than actually catching people between tasks on the phone, I blog more than I talk to my friends.

Even folk dancing has been changed by technology, partly for the better and partly for the worse. Once upon a time, a folk dance session leader had to haul boxes of records, cassette tapes, and/or CDs, in addition to the machinery to play all of the above, to a session. Now, all that's needed is a laptop computer with a ton of music downloaded or uploaded unto it, plus some speakers. So it's a lot easier for the leader to manage the gear. On the other hand, using a computer can actually result in less socializing--instead of the half a minute or so between dances that we used to have for gabbing while the leader searched for and set up a recording, dancers rarely get more than about 5-10 seconds now, if that, to talk while the leader finds and clicks on the next selection.

Who would have thought that making life easier could actually make "having a life" harder?

See also the AARP Magazine March and April 2010 issue's article "Where Conversation Goes from Here."


Anonymous Miami Al said...

Can have socialization there, it might lead to dancing... :)

Definitely in the area of unintended consequences. I'm more caught up on the lives of people I haven't seen since high school, but I feel like a bunch of people I am tight with here only get seen once every month or two.

Definitely closer with people online, which I suppose is similar to your feeling toward the folk dancing.

Mon Feb 22, 02:56:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Definitely closer with people online." Likewise, Al. It's partly a consequence of the ease of online communication--I can blog or send an e-mail whenever *I* want or whenever *I'm* available, whereas, if I want to talk to someone on the phone or meet them for dinner, we *both* have to be available at the same time. It takes two to talk.

Mon Feb 22, 05:00:00 PM 2010  

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