Sherry Turkle in the New York Times: “I’ve been studying people and mobile technology for more than 15 years. Until recently, it was the sharing that seemed most important. People didn’t seem to feel like themselves unless they shared a thought or feeling, even before it was clear in their mind. The new sensibility played on the Cartesian with a twist: “I share, therefore I am.”
These days, we still want to share, but now our first focus is to have, to possess, a photograph of our experience.
I interview people about their selfies. It’s how they keep track of their lives….We interrupt conversations for documentation all the time.
A selfie, like any photograph, interrupts experience to mark the moment. In this, it shares something with all the other ways we break up our day, when we text during class, in meetings, at the theater, at dinners with friends. And yes, at funerals, but also more regularly at church and synagogue services. We text when we are in bed with our partners and spouses. We watch our political representatives text during sessions.
Technology doesn’t just do things for us. It does thing to us, changing not just what we do but who we are. The selfie makes us accustomed to putting ourselves and those around us “on pause” in order to document our lives. It is an extension of how we have learned to put our conversations “on pause” when we send or receive a text, an image, an email, a call. When you get accustomed to a life of stops and starts, you get less accustomed to reflecting on where you are and what you are thinking.
We don’t experience interruptions as disruptions anymore….”