You may have heard people utilize the language of “addiction” to speak of their use of smart phones, either to connect to social media or to text. I remember hearing for the first time a few years ago a colleague refer to his “Crackberry” and knowing immediately what he meant.
With the Lenten season approaching, many will be going on “technology fasts.” They likely do this sort of thing from a sense that their use of these technologies or their reliance on social media is out of control.
Sherry Turkle argues that the language of “addiction” is inappropriate when it comes to social media technologies. Putting things in terms of “addiction” implies that the solution is to quit, cold turkey. If you do actually have a crack-cocaine problem, you should stop immediately!
Turkle notes, however, that these social media technologies will continue to be part of our world. She says it’s better to consider carefully how we might use them fruitfully rather than simply to avoid them.
Further, she notes that the language of “addiction” doesn’t grapple seriously with the complications and complexities of how these technologies affect our humanity. Putting things in those terms may be a convenient way to avoid doing the hard work of reflecting on how newer technologies affect the way we think, how we connect with our own emotions, how we fantasize, and how we relate to others.
What do you think of her point? Have you set rules or boundaries for your use of social media or your smart phone? Have you considered a “technology fast?”