Connection vs. Conversation and the iPhone Bubble

Posted by K.C. with 2 Comments

It’s crazy to me that a group of friends can sit together and not speak to each other, all the while texting and updating their Facebook status under the guise of being connected.

Connected with who? Friends? What about the ones in the same room?

Or how about parents who check their phones constantly during dinner? I’m sure you have never been guilty of that, right? Yeah, me neither (<—liar).

It’s as though we are the most connected generation and yet the most isolated. We sacrifice being present with the people we could touch with an outstretched arm for tweeting a picture of our dinner to millions of strangers who don’t even care.

In this TED Talk author Sherry Turkle explores this phenomenon of being connected, but alone.

Here are some quotes from the video (it is worth your time to watch)

People get used to being short changed in conversation.
We expect more from technology and less from each other.

Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable.
We are lonely, but we are afraid of intimacy.
[Connection provides] the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.

3 Gratifying Fantasies of Connection

  1. We can put our attention wherever we want it to be
  2. We will always be heard
  3. We will never have to be alone

The moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they panic, they fidget and reach for a device. Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved and people try to solve it by connecting.

Constant connection is changing the way we view ourselves:
I share therefore I am

BEFORE: I have a feeling I want to make a call
AFTER: I want to have a feeling, I need to send a text

If we don’t have connection, we don’t feel like ourselves.
We almost don’t feel ourselves.
We set ourselves up to be isolated

Solitude is where you find yourself so that you can reach out to other people and form real attachments.

If we’re not able to be alone, we’re going to be more lonely.
If you don’t teach our children to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely.

With the advent of the iPhone (the first real smartphone in my book) and mobile access to social media I’ve been guilty of climbing into my iPhone bubble to check email, Facebook, Twitter or play a game instead of engaging in real life with the people around me.

The iPhone is an incredible device and there are many beautifully designed apps with creative solutions and distractions. As impressive as the iPhone “experience” may be it cannot replace the authenticity of genuine connection through conversation with a friend in real life.

One of the last points Sherry makes is that now we’ll spend a few hours at night sitting on the computer (or our phones) surfing social media searching for a fleeting connection instead of meeting friends for coffee or drinks and conversation.

I hope you will join me in putting down your phones, shutting down the computer and lifting up your head to look into the eyes of people around you. It’s been said “the eyes are the window to the soul”. Our souls are becoming more isolated and need some fresh air.

What stuck out most to you from the video?
Have you ever caught yourself in the iPhone bubble?


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My name is KC and I LOVE being a husband & dad. I am a Mac fanboy, tentblogger, MBA grad, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

2 responses to Connection vs. Conversation and the iPhone Bubble

  1. Guilty! And the guilt settles in and makes my heart hurt for my kids. I have shortchanged them and it is 100% my fault. The good thing is that I can change that. I challenge myself to put my iPhone in the basket by the door the moment I walk in the house. I will not look at it unless it rings (no checking tweets or emails unless absolutely necessary). I will look at my kids and have deeper conversations with them, I will be their dad, not their dad with an iPhone. I will be present!

    Sorry to get a little personal but this just confirms thoughts that have already been swimming around in my brain matter. I WILL CHANGE!

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