Both of these readings evoked strong, nostalgic feelings. Being relatively young (25), I kept reading these anecdotes and interviews and immediately relating them to myself in a Miller’s “identification and disidentification” way. My friend and I used to sign on to each other’s AIM to talk to girls we liked as someone else to probe them about their feelings (or lack of) for us. I’ve used Myspace to browse girls in my area outside of my social circle because I lived in a relatively small town and couldn’t meet many girls that I didn’t already know. I never felt as if I was missing out on anything real or physical in any significant way. In that sense, the Ito reading was less informative because I felt it was readily apparent to me as I lived it.
The Turkle reading, however, almost seemed like a “remember the good old days” piece (although throughout, there are interesting admissions of her enjoying the technological advances). I am on the side that social networks and connective technology is a beneficial tool that aides social relationships. In keeping with both readings, I’ll use an anecdote to elucidate a way it helps. I ran into an old friend from Jacksonville (my hometown) on the train in to the city today. We hadn’t really hung out or talked in close to two years. However, it was not awkward or riddled with superficial pleasantries, rather was a rich conversation about our lives and goals at the moment. The reason we were able to speak with each other like this in only the brief 15 minutes or so was because of our connection with social media and the network of friends we shared. I was aware of his acting/movie production career (even his recent trip to begin his first lead in a feature) and he was aware of my move to NY for graduate school simply through the posts and conversations that were available for either of us to see. This allowed us to move past the simple pleasantries a conversation with a friend after 2 years of disconnect would begin with and provided a rich, meaningful conversation.
The marrying a robot section reminded me of The Gos’s movie Lars and the Real Girl, where he falls in love with a realistic looking doll. I don’t think robots with ever be able to supplant real human connection, but some psychological issues might actually benefit from a companionship with less complexity and investment.