A status update, a text message, a tweet or an email became part of our daily dose of interactions and most of the times are preferable to the face to face conversation. The dialogues are happening in the online sphere while the internet is building up its collaborative era.
The seductive advantage of the virtual world to bring people together from wide corners of the world contaminated also the dialogues with friends and family in the close vicinity. The neighbours might need their own private online environment for building a strong community as indicates the creators of Next door.
No news here: technology reshapes the way we interact with each other.
But what if you would take a break from online dialogues? No single tweet, photo uploaded or facebook likes. What if for a while your entire existence would concentrate to face to face conversations? How your world would look like?
Jake Reilly took 90 days off from online world in what he called the Amish project, an experiment which proved to be exactly this: time for re-discovering real conversations. The three months are a journey for finding new meaningful (offline) ways to communicate with the others.
The return to the connected world wears the awareness of the difference between relationships and connections.
Paul Miller is going further – he decided to take a break from internet for one year. The experiment is under developing and, supported by colleagues, he is documenting this challenge and sending his thoughts to the world.
The already 4 months in online deprivation brings him beyond the enthusiasm that Jake Reilly also experienced. The time allows him to make delicate analysis of our connections and the online existence constructed from multiple avatars.
How come a click became such debated act of life?
Sherry Turkle in a brilliant TEDTalk connects the dots:
“Texting, email, posting – all of these things let us present the self as we want to be […] Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clear them up with technology. […] Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable”.
Is it? It’s up to us to use of all these communication tools in the way that serves us best.