One of the things I noticed in the obits and letters to the editor about Jobs was the recurrent notion that he enhanced our connectivity. This is something that strikes me as such an irony. We’re all connected now, we’re all wired, we have this complete ease of contact with everybody — but it’s also obvious that the more society becomes entrenched in these so-called connecting technologies, the more isolated we are as individuals… .
Well there are these band-aids, these substitutes, of course there are. That’s the appeal, that’s why they’re popular, but in the meantime we’re more and more dispersed. And don’t get me wrong I use them too. I have a close friend in Serbia. How often am I going to see him? Not very often, so I rely on a fixed version of the technology you’re describing. But those are consolations, and you ultimately have to look at what’s being traded away. When you weigh the whole ensemble of this, the whole culture of this and you see the direction it’s going, and again getting back to community, which to me is really the key thing, it’s evaporating.
Here’s one way to know that you need to spend more time taking with people who don’t share your point of view: when you use the phrase “It’s obvious that… .”
And if we’re going to ask questions, let’s ask them genuinely: What in fact do you “trade away” by using digital technology to stay in touch with your friend in Serbia?
And one more thing, while I’m grumping out: if you use the very technologies you’re critiquing, should anyone call you a “Luddite”? What should you call yourself?