The editors at Mashable reported on an interesting TEDTalk conference facilitated by MIT professor Sherry Turkle. The premise of her talk is that social media and technology while allowing us to stay in contact, is doing so at the price of real conversations. This, according to professor Turtle “Will have some serious consequences for our relationships, our self-perceptions and our emotions.”
While the research has shown a huge jump in the world’s acceptance of texting, social media has the potential -if left unchecked – of making the human race less social. People who text can project an identity that they have edited unlike a face-to-face conversation which is largely unscripted and lets people see us – warts and all.
Also with the ever present smart phones at our fingertips Turkle said, “We’re only paying attention to the things we want to pay attention to. And that leaves us increasingly disconnected from our friends, family and co-workers as we simply turn our devices off when a conversation no longer interests us.”
We in the exhibition industry understand the value of face-to-face communication and yet we face an ever increasing frustration in trying to convince the public that we are important and relevant.
Turtle’s recommendation is “for us to have a more self-aware relationship with technology. And in turn, we should do things like create sacred places at home and at work where we leave the devices out.”
This is a strategy that the exhibition world should consider. Would it make us look like Luddites? Perhaps, but what’s the alternative?
I’m not sure what the answer is, but connectivity has become a way of life and unless we as an industry face this issue we run the risk of becoming obsolete. If that ever happened the world would be a sorry place.