Hereʼs a vote for the dystopians

2007-01-21 09:34:00 +0000

So far, whenever I tell someone I am taking a class called “Social Issues in a Networked Society” – I will continue to refuse to use the acronym when describing this class – they feel that the time is right to share their philosophical views regarding the aforementioned Social Issues in the aforementioned Networked Society.

This happened last night, at a wedding reception. For the record, I received the invitation in a paper envelope in my mailbox. So very traditional, indeed. However, rides were arranged via instant message and mobile phone, and we got lost on the way and had to get real-time directions from a friend, again via mobile 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 my menu 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 And You Know It Just Like Everyone Else. After we established that MySpace isnʼt the only Social Issue in our Networked Society, Natalie shared with me her true feelings on the subject.

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

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