less tech. more life.

Excerpted from The Flight From Conversation by Sherry Turkle New York Times, April 21, 2012

...In the silence of connection, people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people — carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we can use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right. I think of it as a Goldilocks effect.

Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little — just right.

Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves...

FACE-TO-FACE conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions; we dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters...

...we have confused conversation with connection and collectively seem to have embraced a new kind of delusion that accepts the simulation of compassion as sufficient unto the day...

...We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we never have to be alone. Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.

When people are alone, even for a few moments, they fidget and reach for a device. Here connection works like a symptom, not a cure, and our constant, reflexive impulse to connect shapes a new way of being.

Think of it as “I share, therefore I am.” We use technology to define ourselves by sharing our thoughts and feelings as we’re having them. We used to think, “I have a feeling; I want to make a call.” Now our impulse is, “I want to have a feeling; I need to send a text...”

→ to view the complete article, click here.

I am deeply moved by the words above. It's an important reminder with cautionary insight for all of us. I recently took almost a year off of Facebook; during that time I completed the first draft of my book, started a lifestyle brand, improved my focus + increased my self-care. I was more present for my relationship(s), lost some weight, upped my joy + experienced more restful sleep.  Then about a month ago I got back on it + within 1 week my anxiety was up, I was more distracted + irritable + I also felt more  self-conscious. Not healthy. Not okay. Not cool. I promptly deactivated my personal account, added a second daily meditation to my schedule {for now} + have returned to communicating with myself {and others} or not communicating at all with others in a more purposeful way.

Try an hour, or a day, or a week without social media + see how you + your life transform. Let me know how it goes. I'm rooting for you.

Warmly, Alicia.