Saturday, April 21, 2012

I share therefore I am?

While I don't know if my own experience with technology agrees with everything Sherry Turkle says in this talk, many of the points she raises I find really relevant to my masters research. Particularly her points on how we define ourselves by what we share and how we edit/present the self with new media - I would argue though that this can still be just as clumsy and awkward in any social situation, on or offline. Reading peoples posts on Facebook or Twitter appears to be full of unintended stumbling and revealing moments.

New technology does change us... but I don't think we should see it as a passive cause and effect exchange and I guess this is the point Turkle does make at the end about self-reflection.

I'm interested to hear from others on this subject.


  1. She is a great speaker and has presented many interesting ideas and thoughts. I need to ponder more I think to develop my own ideas... but in the interests of not editing myself too much ;) here are some initial thoughts:
    * online via blogging & twitter I have been able to develop myself through exploring my interests and "meeting" people who share similar interest who have in turn shared inspiration and skills with me.
    * some online connections have spilled over into real life - I suppose a hierarchy exists re connections. People who I know both 'virtually' and in 'real' life are at the top of the hierachy (and are the smallest in number) whereas people I only know either only online or only in 'real' life are towards the bottom... which makes me think which of those two would be higher in the hierachy - I think the people I only know online could possibly be higher than some of the people I only know in real life because I am privy to more information and inner thoughts ... or is that just an illusion... lots of exceptions ect on this one... worth considering more me thinks.
    * myself - interestingly I suppose to this topic is that I started blogging when I was very unsure of myself and who I was. Still struggling with the new aspect of myself "mother" I started a blog and through that I feel I have a greater sense of who I am.
    * I don't consider twitter to be a means of connection - rather a tool for sharing, distribution and promotion - but certainly not connecting. Raises the question that my five year old son asked as he sat with me listening to Sherry - "what are connections?" More thinking needs to be had on my part here to as to what parameters I'd set in my definition.
    * participating in online communities is important to me because as a mother with three small children in the 'burbs it is too difficult to regularly meet up with friends in pubs! The ability to "connect" or "engage" with material and people at late in the night when my children are sleeping is fantastic... and I can be wearing my PJs exhausted from a big day of caring and it is ok. If I went to a pub it could turn nasty for me the next day when those three children needed to be cared for again ;)
    * my partner and I are in the process of establishing rules re our use of laptops and phones at home ect so that we are not distracted. This also takes into account children's use of television and laptops. I really agree with Sherry's points re: needing to learn to be alone and knowing how to have conversations. At our home we are currently learning about looking at people when we talk and listen and putting things down so that we don't have busy hands. My five year old son really struggles with this, where as my three year old daughter can make really engaged & meaningful eye contact. Through this comparison I can see just how important eye contact is with sending and receiving messages. Obviously absent with twitter, facebook, blogging ect as it is today.
    * last night I attended Ruth de Vos exhibition. I met her there. I first learnt of her quilts through the Stitched and Bound exhibition where I met you. You invited me to the Stitch and Bound exhibition because we though "meeting" online. Connections. I'm going to start cutting material for my first quilt today. Improving myself. Connections and self...

    ... there are some ideas to start with. I'm really interested in this topic Claire and if I can manage developing my thoughts further with my teething baby I might actually post something on my blog too. I'll let you know if I do.

  2. Hi Sally, thanks so much for your response! like you, I started my blog as a self reflective pursuit at a time where I was struggling with changes in my life, albeit different reasons from yours I think we share a commonality in that we are both creative people and blogging contributes to cultivating that identity.

    I originally began this bear among bees blog anonymously and it centered around craft projects that usually connected with other peoples group projects in the online craft community eg. granny a day for the month of may, ect. Later I started a separate blog that focused on my "art" practice but what I found out pretty quickly was that the level of social engagement did not work the same way as my "craft" blog - in that there was no shared purpose, no skills sharing and little real feedback. So I combined the two blogs to be what it is now.

    This disparity in engagement was a huge revelation to me about the power of connecting with others online and what the internet is actually good for - connecting people with common interests, rather than it just being a platform for vanity press.

    I agree with you that there are some online friends I feel closer too than a lot of people I have met in "physical" space. I remember being surprised when I first began taking part in the online craft community by the generosity of others, how people were willing to make online tutorials, send physical objects that they had made or supplies purely for the purpose of sharing (no money exchanged), something surprisingly anti-consumerist that I didn't expect.

    Please do let me know if you write that post, I'd love to hear more from you and your blog readers on this subject.

    BTW, Heathcote Museum & Gallery is having Stitched & Bound again later this year! Pleased to hear it was so inspiring for you!