Community vs. Cell Phones
Interesting secular perspective on the impact of cell phones, iPods and similar devices on community.

Our society has devolved into a mass of turned-on, tuned-out, and plugged-in technophiles. Whatever distinction used to exist between public and private life is all but gone, as one can witness on any city street, bus, plane, or shopping mall. Waiting in line at the grocery store or post office used to mean striking up a conversation with the person in front of you. It now involves blurting the intimate details of one's love life into a cell phone for all to hear or scrolling through a playlist for just the right song, or surfing the Web for something we want but don't really need.
I will call this new form of behavior "iSolation," and there are three major costs associated with it.

Link: Ethics and the iPhone
Annette, Wednesday, 8-8-07 1:56 PM
re: Community vs. Cell Phones
I disagree with the iSolation argument, but you probably already knew I was going to say that.

Almost every form of technology I use (cell phone/texting, instant messaging, online gaming, blogging, email) connects me to people. In fact in most cases it connects me to people I wouldn't have been connected to otherwise. I text in places where a verbal conversation would not be appropriate. I IM several people at once. I play online games with people from all over the world! Technology has enhanced my communication with others and has given me access to information that was previously unavailable to me.

When my friend was posted over in Afghanistan. I talked to him almost daily through instant message. Now that he's back I almost never hear from him. This web page here is what enables us to stay in touch with Katie over in Romania! I've talked with her over Skype (more technology!)

Those of you who don't text/IM/blog will probably find this hard to believe, but it actually allows me to be MORE transparent than if we were face-to-face, increasing the intimacy between me and the person who's reading it. Nonverbal communication (IM/blog/text) is a lot like expressing things on a thought level.

Don't get me wrong. Communication through technology is never a BETTER substitute for face-to-face community, but sometimes it is an necessary alternative. I would much rather hang out with you than read your blog, because that takes us to a different level. Then again I do learn different things about you by reading your blog that probably wouldn't come up in conversation (I would have never known that Annette can't swallow pills).

Communication through technology fills in the gaps between incidents of face-to-face community. All of these things allow me to get to know you better. Honestly, you couldn't get something this articulate out of me if this were a verbal communication. Nor would you have ever heard it either. ;-)

(that's my soap box and i'm stickin' to it)

ROUS  Christina Reagan, Wednesday, 8-8-07 5:50 PM
re: Community vs. Cell Phones
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that drivers who use a cell phone are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than are drivers who do not.

How come people who argue against cell phone use in cars never mention those people who drive with dogs in their laps? A phone is an inanimate object, that only has as much power over us as we let it. An animal has a will of its own, is extremely unpredictable, and is FAR more dangerous than a cell phone.
ROUS  Christina Reagan, Wednesday, 8-8-07 5:57 PM
re: Community vs. Cell Phones
Probably because the raw number of drivers who tool down the road with Sparky in their laps is far smaller than the number of those chatting away to Mom / Hubby / Co-Worker while attempting to back out into traffic. :}

I am no fan of cell phones, as probably comes as no surprise. I have one because it is cheaper and more convenient than a land line, but I talk on it about 3x / week, not counting co-ordinating pickups with David. Given my existing bias I'm liable to agree with much of this article. Yes, communications tech is necessary and wonderful. But yes, it's misused terribly. We Are tuned out in the grocery store line, while out walking the dog, and even in traffic. Of course, we also park our cars in the garage and enter the house through the side door so as to avoid any uncomfortable meetings with neighbors, drive up to the community mail box, and do myriad other non "i-related" things to avoid contact with "strangers." Cell phones and iPods are hardly the only thing holding us back from broader community, but I think they do play a not insignificant role.
Annette, Thursday, 8-9-07 11:32 AM
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