Posts for Tag: turkle

Together Alone

At The New York Times today, appreciation of Sherry Turkle from an unexpected quarter, a review of a performance by the Manhattan Quartet. Beautiful writing besides. High marks for the music and for the writing.

In her 2011 book “Alone Together,” the social scientist Sherry Turkle describes our world as one in which technology has rendered us increasingly isolated when it comes to substantive interactions. We “friend” instead of making friends.

Her title, but in inverse, occurred to me on Wednesday at the Manhattan String Quartet’s concert at the Tenri Cultural Institute. The evening, “100 Years of the String Quartet,” could just as well have been named “Together Alone.” The world may be full of anxiety, melancholy and atomization, the program seemed to say, but a string quartet is a unified, rich society unto itself. The members pass around ideas, argue and sing: This is real friendship, not the Facebook kind.

Now in its 44th season, the Manhattan Quartet comes together with warm but not overly well-oiled ease, like old friends or a family. You never get the sense from these players that you get from some other, often younger groups, that the answer to music’s questions lies in ferociously smooth unanimity.


Peter Lloyd writes When anyone bemoans the death of letter writing, perhaps I should direct the conversation to letter reading. Who reads them?, gives a shocking example, and suggests several sources to follow up.

I sent hand-written letters to several colleagues at a digital marketing agency. None of them read my missives. The letters arrived but languished in mailroom pigeon holes. “I don't ever go get my snail-mail,” one of my addressees explained, when I asked him if he had received my traditional letter. I meant for it to stand out from all the electronic messages I know he receives.

Another statement, Letters may prove more thoughtful and intimate, but it's stimulation variety we seem to crave today, sees to echo Sherry Turkle's op-ed earlier this week.

Documenting Ourselves vs Reflection

Sherry Turkle carried the Alone Together theme to a New York Times op-ed this morning. She wrote
Technology doesn’t just do things for us. It does thing to us, changing not just what we do but who we are. The selfie makes us accustomed to putting ourselves and those around us “on pause” in order to document our lives. It is an extension of how we have learned to put our conversations “on pause” when we send or receive a text, an image, an email, a call. When you get accustomed to a life of stops and starts, you get less accustomed to reflecting on where you are and what you are thinking.
and finished with this reflection
It is not too late to reclaim our composure. I see the most hope in young people who have grown up with this technology and begin to see its cost. They respond when adults provide them with sacred spaces (the kitchen, the family room, the car) as device-free zones to reclaim conversation and self-reflection.