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“Does it bring us together, or draw us apart?”

Written By: Gary on April 1, 2004 3 Comments

A quick evaluation on whether a technology is good or not. That is a pretty short evaluation and I like it (it’s short, it’s powerful and it meets my 3 second attention span requirement). I got this from a Mike Rohde blog entry that was referring to a Howard Rheingold article quoting an Amish person as to why cell phones are okay for them. It’s got to be causing some conflict for them, remember cell phones are a lot more these days than just phones they are e-mail, web browsers, PDAs, video games, calulators, cameras, mp3 players, etc… and some of those functions are standard these days. The Amish aren’t the focus of my entry but they are the round about source of the quote.

Back to the quote: “Does it bring us together, or draw us apart?” – While it is a nice short evaluation on technology, the continuum between the two ends of the spectrum leaves a lot of grey area. But I’ve been thinking about it every since I read the entry. Computers (sans Internet) can take people away from the people they know. The Internet can bring them the world but also take them away from people they know. But for some it could be a creative outlet – photography, music, movies, art design. This could be what brings them out.

My question is what are some very clear technologies that fit at one end of our spectrum or another?
There is no research here, I’m just making it up as I go along (so don’t get upset with me).

  • Digital Photography – probably brings people together more.
  • Video games / on-line gaming – probably separates the gamer from live people (but more virtual friends).
  • Laptop Computers – possibly keeps you in touch but at the cafe and resturant and airplane you probably aren’t paying attention to the world around you (where the people are). This is probably true with handheld video games, cd/mp3 players, PDAs, text messaging, etc. also. You could probably say about regular old paper books too.
  • DVD Players / Home Theatre – this could be social or not just depends if you stay home instead of going out or if you have friends over. As the technology gets better, why leave the house?

    No big conclusion, just thoughts about the topic. If you think of any please leave me a note.

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    3 Responses to ““Does it bring us together, or draw us apart?””

    1. Mike Rohde says on: 22 April 2006 at 3:56 pm

      Gary, thanks for the mention! :-)

      nice post about this quote from Howard’s article. I think you have some good points — and yes, “does it bring us together or pull us apart” leaves gray area for interpretation, and I like that.

      I do think there are some items, such as a gas grill, which encourage social fellowship with others, while something like an iPod could draw someone into a shell of their own musical world. I agree with your examples above.

      However, technology can be used for good or bad depending on the person’s intentions

    2. Huda says on: 12 May 2006 at 9:40 pm

      true
      i think that the internet does bring people togther as long as they use it right. and as Mike said, but some people they ask how can the internet make people not get closers or togther. the answer is simple. by just the wars we have people rap, lie, use the internet for THE WRONG thing and that makes it more dangers for the kids.

    3. ingrid says on: 8 May 2008 at 10:24 pm

      Totally agree. Computer/internet, like any other great technology, can only do what you tell it to. Surelly, internet broken down geography, leaving us more conneted to a large group of people. Now, even cannot image how would we do without them. However, we have to use it wisely.

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