Subtle Coolness · chrono index · alpha index

Hereʼs a vote for the dystopians

by William Jackson on 2007-01-21

So far, whenever I tell someone I am taking a class called “Social Issues in aNetworked Society” — I will continue to refuse to use the acronym whendescribing this class — they feel that the time is right to share theirphilosophical views regarding the aforementioned Social Issues in theaforementioned Networked Society.

This happened last night, at a wedding reception. For the record, I received theinvitation in a paper envelope in my mailbox. So very traditional, indeed.However, rides were arranged via instant message and mobile phone, and we gotlost on the way and had to get real-time directions from a friend, again viamobile phone. I sure could have benefited from a network connection and Yahoo!Maps right then.

Regardless, I was there, and I was talking to my friend Natalie, running down mymenu of classes for this semester, when I mentioned I was taking a class called“Social Issues in a Networked Society”.

Her first reaction was to say something vaguely derogatory about MySpace,further proof for my theory that MySpace Is The Worst Site On The Network AndYou Know It Just Like Everyone Else. After we established that MySpaceisnʼt the only Social Issue in our Networked Society, Natalie shared withme her true feelings on the subject.

Natalie feels that our (relatively) new modes of communication are actuallydrawing us further apart rather than helping us come closer together. Instantmessaging, text messaging, email, even telephone conversations are not adequatereplacements for face-to-face conversation, and as a result our relationshipsare becoming less deep and meaningful. While we may meet more people that wewould not have met without our new networks, the general quality of ourrelationships are degrading.

So I told her she was dystopian, and we proceeded to talk about baking.