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ChrisE (Yorkshire, UK)

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Alone Together
Alone Together
by Sherry Turkle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.09

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to it's potential... Academically quite unconvincing., 23 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Alone Together (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this book. Honestly I did, it deals with a fascinating topic. Sadly however, I found this far too anecdotal, repetitive and bias. Her point felt laboured, the anti-technology rhetoric was tiring and she seldom gets into any great depth on an issue. I felt she was able to point out a fairly evident phenomenon such as people texting more and calling less but failed to deeply analyse it beyond showing the angst and frustrations it brought teenagers. I do believe "we are all cyborgs now", as a young person I can see our behaviour is changing, our generation is different, this book just never really showed me the fundamental psychological changes that are occuring or where they will lead, beyond the somewhat ludicrous suggestion that we will all want to marry robots in 2020.

Although her anecdotal evidence is considerable, I seldom found it convincing as an argument for anything in a general sense. What's more, many of the problems she pointed to, weren't shown to be explicitly caused or exacerbated by our connectivity or technology. The teenagers she interviews sound like stereotypical teenagers, with stereotypical problems about identity, sex, image etc. She doesn't show that facebook is the problem, rather than just a new way to express and work with their problems. For example she quotes "Adam", an addicted video gamer, who admits he doesn't really like his job. Without doubt he is a sad example of addiction and the power of very clever video designers, but to me the example says more about Adam, and the problems with his real life, than the omnipotent pervasive technology. In another age perhaps he would have been an alcoholic, a drug user, or a problem gambler.

Finally, the anecdotes and her own personal references made her line of argument at times incoherent and unclear. You had to flip back a couple of pages, to figure out exactly where she was going with a particular story of teenage trauma.

Basically a lot of what she claims may be true, some of it sounds dubious, I was just expecting a more thorough treatment of the topic, there were very few moments which were truly thought provoking or original.


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