Each topic that we have covered has inevitably brought me back to the theorists we covered in the first couple of weeks. Sherry Turkle's concerns about our 'connected' lives resulting in us becoming disconnected from people in our physical lives. Is this the reality that we have to look forward to? As we become more and more reliant on our digital devices are we becoming less able to interact with people on a face to face basis? Are we heading towards the kind of world envisaged by Baudrillard, where our online lives become better than our real ones?
|The Daily Galaxy|
We use online games like Second Life and World of Warcraft to create more interesting versions of ourselves, our avatars representing the person we would like to be. In such worlds we can fly, teleport, become heroes, fight great battles, form relationships with other avatars, but at what cost? Our online lives are becoming ever more real to us, and our real lives becoming like a pale, washed out reflection.
Social media has allowed us to connect with people on a wider scale than would likely be possible in reality. For myself, there's no way I could keep up with 200 odd people and maintain that many friendships. I'd never get anything done! We post tid bits on our news feeds, insights into our daily lives, and yet we are selective about what we post. Eager to show the best side of ourselves, how many of us leave out the mundane reality that probably makes up the majority of our lives? The cleaning, the vaccuming, fighting with the kids to get ready in the mornings, or put them to bed at nights. Paying bills, working 9-5, none of this is interesting to anyone else? Yet it is reality. Are we becoming dissatisfied with our lives because we see everyone elses seemingly 'perfect' lives with their perfect homes, perfect children, perfect family holidays?
|Living YOUR perfect life|
We are so reliant on being connected that it can be devastating when we are not. A couple of weeks ago, the server went down where I work. I spent almost an entire day, sitting at my desk, completely and utterly disabled. I couldn't check my emails, couldn't access the internet, couldn't access any of the documents I'd been working on. My world literally fell apart. Cyberterrorism is an ever present threat, hackers working to penetrate the servers of governments and military. What happens when they succeed? Where are we if they manage to infiltrate our banking systems, our tax file records, our confidential information?
Don't get me wrong - I see a great deal of good in the technology we use today. It's so easy now to Google an answer to a question, to find pretty much anything we want. We can shop online, bank online, book holidays online. Our lives are no longer lived 9-5, and we need to be able to do all these things outside of usual business hours. In my busy life - working, studying, raising two children, there is simply never enough hours in the day to do everything. I rely on my access to technology in order to keep my life running smoothly, well I at least try to have my life run smoothly!
So many questions, so many unknowns. Who knows where we will be in another 10 years? Even another 5! Look at how popular android devices and iPhones have become. Five years ago they didn't even exist, and now every second person seems to have one. I don't have a crystal ball, I can't predict what the future holds. I can only hope that our deep internal need to be connected to other people keeps us away from the dystopic world of Baudrillard, that we continue to have interactions and relationships as we have always done - in the physical world. Because no matter how advanced our technology, no matter how 'perfect' our online lives, there will never be a substitute for the sheer and utter beauty of our unpredictable, completely flawed physical world. The uncertainty and unpredictability of it all is what makes life exciting, it's what teaches us about who we are as people, and what I will always cherish and enjoy.
So it's goodnight and good luck! See you around.