Years ago while reading this book I thought to myself “hmmm…yes. Sometimes we do expect more meaning from technology than from humans.” As Sherry Turkle wrote in her book “technology has become the architect of our intimacies.” Meaning that people found more satisfaction in their connection with their phones, iPads, laptops, Xboxes, etc and with other forms of remote connections than connecting one on one with each other – in person and face-to-face. The title evokes an image of a family, or a group of friends hanging around together…but alone. Each zoomed in on their handheld. Each tuned in, exclusively and intimately, to their technology. Not a particularly favorable impression of the human connection.
Now fast forward to today – nine years later after this book was written. We have been isolating at home due to COVID19. It is this very same technology that has now become paramount in enabling us to sustain our human connection during this time when we are all forced to be apart. They call it Social Distancing. But being social is at the very core of who we are as humans. And this same technology that pulled us away from one another is now allowing us to be together – socially. I have attended online Happy Hours…family reunions…story time with our grandkids…sales meetings…conferences…speaking engagements. And I have even FaceTimed with a local shopkeeper who helped me pick out a gift for my niece along with a few books for myself.
So…in the end…this technology that used to keep us disengaged from one another has actually reengaged us with with one another. Has allowed us to satisfy our need for human connection, to socialize with one another and remain Together while Alone. Socializing in an adaptive way.