Above is the opening we created for our debate (Nicole, Tayler, and I).
Our side of the debate this week argues that it is not necessary to unplug from the internet. There is a vast amount of information at our finger tips that can enrich our lives. Do you need to know how to get to a specific address? – just “google” it. You could maybe even look at the street view so you can safely arrive at your destination. Do you want to check with the Mayo clinic about certain symptoms you are having and decide how to proceed? Just google it. You can find a community of like- minded people to discuss any topic you desire. Your family physician can double check possible drug interactions before they choose which medication to prescribe you. Google calendar can help you put your mind at ease by remembering dates and times, so you don’t need to worry. You can book your airline tickets on ‘google flights’. If a part on your lawn mower breaks – you can order it on amazon and have it delivered to your house in a few weeks. If you are looking for the perfect mate, you can specify your wishes to the minutest detail so you end up with a great match. This online technology class would not be possible if it weren’t for the internet. Can you imagine having car trouble on the highway with no cell phone? Worse yet – can you imagine going back to a time when there were no cell phones at all?
Can you imagine not being able to look up an address on google maps? Think for a moment what it would be like to go back in time when there was no Skype to have a video chat with far away loved ones. The list of benefits is endless. These are some of the many reasons we argued that there is no need to unplug!
Tim O’Reilly, owner of a global internet operating system claims that The internet connects humans to everything! Our plugging in is an extension of ourselves. You can take a look at the first 15 minutes of this Youtube video if you like.
The other side of our debate brought up the idea that people who are on technology might have a tendency to be ‘lonely’. One article they posted points to the fact that people need to become better listeners, engage in communication, and practice conversation. Our side would say that you don’t have to unplug in order to be able to do these things. It’s all about balance and choices – just like with everything.
The other side also suggested that being plugged in might lead to loneliness. I believe that is a matter of perspective. I think people need to find a way of being comfortable and happy with themselves instead of looking for substantiation and affirmation from others. Or – as the video they suggested says “measuring their self worth with numbers of followers and likes”.
When we ended up with this topic on the first night of class, I felt disappointed because I thought I was very much on the other side of this debate. As we got into it, I realized how much I value technology and would be very disappointed to go back to a time with no cell phones or computers.
There is a great article called “The Disconnectionists by Nathan Jurgenson . He would suggest that our opponents might say that being connected to technology represents “dangerous desire, an unhealthy pleasure, an addictive toxin to re regulated and medicated”. They might argue that when plugging in we repress our “true selves. We disagree – being connected in a balanced way enhances our realities and gives us opportunities to become our “best selves”.