Monday, January 24, 2011
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Social networking websites are making us "less human" by isolating people from reality, a US academic claims.
The way in which people frantically communicate online via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be seen as a modern form of madness, according to the leading sociologist.
Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes in her new book, Alone Together: “A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological.”
She explains that people are become isolated from reality due to such social networking sites because technology is dominating our lives and making us "less human".
Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, technology is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world, she suggests.
“We have invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us,” she writes.
Her warnings – and those from other cyber-sceptics – follow the death of Simone Back, a woman in Brighton who posted a suicide note on Facebook that was seen by more than 1,000 of her "friends".
Yet none of them called for help – instead trading insults with each other on her Facebook wall.
Turkle’s book has created significant attention in the US because her previous works, The Second Self and Life on the Screen, were most positive about changing technology.
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