Name Instructor Class 26 February 2013 The Irony of Presence and Absence in a Tethered World: Reacting to Turkle’s “Always On” The Digital Age offers numerous advantages of multitasking and simultaneous connection, but drawbacks tend to undermine these advantages…
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I agree with Turkle that tethered technologies offer benefits of multitasking, connectivity, and continuous self-development, but the irony is that the more people do simultaneous tasks, the less they achieve in terms of quality in their mental and social output; nevertheless, I believe that people can find a balance between the tethered and un-tethered self to enjoy a high-quality inner and social life. In the opening paragraphs, Turkle describes the proponents of cyborgs in MIT because they are the precursors of pervasive cyborg identities. Cyborgs are people who desire to be always on, always connected to others through mobile communication devices. People are cyborgs because they become their technology, where they expect enhancement of, not just their experiences and interconnections, but also their identities. Turkle argues that connectivity also allows people to experiment with their identity development through Erik Erikson’s notion of moratorium (152). She describes it as having new free spaces, where people can easily explore the production of ever-changing identities. Moreover, Turkle underscores the irony of using technology for one’s diverse gains. The tool becomes the person, as the person becomes inextricably dependent on it. Turkle argues that the more people use tethered technologies, the more they nurture their dependence on it (154). Furthermore, Turkle explores her hesitancy in embracing a virtually connected self. She admits that she enjoys being connected because she can bring memories with her anywhere she goes, and she can remain connected to her loved ones. However, Turkle recognizes the drawbacks of 24/7 connection: the inability to be disconnected when one should be so. In “Tethered and Marked Absent,” Turkle describes how technology connects and disconnects people from one another. On the one hand, communications technology connects people in real time. On the other hand, as they use these technologies, they become disconnected with whoever they are with physically. The disconnection includes having a sense of limitless privacy, as if others around them no longer exist. In “From Life to the Life Mix,” Turkle emphasizes how technology provides new materials for reworking people’s identities. She uses the term “life mix” (160) to describe the shift from multi-tasking to living parallel lives. She gives examples on how Second Life and other social networking sites allow people to be their real selves, even when these identities live in a parallel dimension, and where every aspect of its looks and capabilities are contrived. In “Multitasking and the Alchemy of Time,” Turkle discusses the illusion of multitasking benefits. First, multitasking does not make people more efficient because studies show the contrary. Second, multitasking becomes addictive, though it can be physically and emotionally stressful. She offers examples of parents not doing much parenting and students not doing much studying because of their mobile communications devices. Turkle is amazed that people think that they can be more by doing more, when it is evident that they can hardly concentrate on their existing tasks because of constant interruptions. The ability to engage in deep thinking is lost in a tethered society. In “Fearful Symmetries,” Turkle is concerned of how the “itself,” that outward connected self, results to the objectification
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