Synopses & Reviews
Consider Facebook—it’s human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.
In Alone Together, MIT technology and society professor Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It’s a nuanced exploration of what we are looking for—and sacrificing—in a world of electronic companions and social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving of today’s self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next generation who will chart the path between isolation and connectivity.
New York Times Book Review
"[Turkle] summarizes her new view of things with typical eloquence...fascinating, readable."
Wall Street Journal
"What [Turkle] brings to the topic that is new is more than a decade of interviews with teens and college students in which she plumbs the psychological effect of our brave new devices on the generation that seems most comfortable with them."
"A fascinating portrait of our changing relationship with technology."
Natural History Magazine
"A fascinating, insightful and disquieting "intimate ethnography" of our digital, robotic moment in history."
"Turkle is a gifted and imaginative writer...[who] pushes interesting arguments with an engaging style."
Jill Conway, President emerita, Smith College, and author of
A wake-up call from a cyber-expert: our use of technology is fueling disturbing levels of isolation, leaving us incapable of distinguishing between true human connection and digital communication
Technology has become the architect of our intimacies. Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication. But, as MIT technology and society specialist Sherry Turkle argues, this relentless connection leads to a new solitude. As technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. Alone Together
is the result of Turkle's nearly fifteen-year exploration of our lives on the digital terrain. Based on hundreds of interviews, it describes new unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents, and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy, and solitude.
About the Author
Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. She is frequently interviewed in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, on NBC News, and more. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Authors Note: Turning Points
Introduction: Alone Together
The Robotic Moment: In Solitude, New Intimacies
1. Nearest Neighbors
2. Alive Enough
3. True Companions
6. Loves Labor Lost
Networked: In Intimacy, New Solitudes
8. Always On
9. Growing Up Tethered
10. No Need to Call
11. Reduction and Betrayal
12. True Confessions
14. The Nostalgia of the Young
Conclusion: Necessary Conversations
Epilogue: The Letter