My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

Become a Fan

« Refrigerate responsibly. | Main | How to slow down time »


michael markwick

I also agree with Bill and Julie, I am an artist working in Berlin, my wife is traveling between Holland and many other countries, nearly every night we are able to have chats using ichat (voice to voice) over our laptops, we SMS through the day using our mobiles, and e-mail lies under all of that, with digital photos flying through space and time. Her computer is a bit slower, but we have done video chats with collegues in Spain....

I have been amazed how much technology makes me feel more connected in a situation which normally would feel far from being close.

Beyond that I have created a large netowrk of past friends who are always in touch. At some point the culture will become used to technology as a normal means of communication. I think Dr. chard just needs some time in chat rooms...

Erik Holden

First, let me say that there is a small kernel of truth to what Dr. Chard says. It is a very small kernel however. There is no question that electronic communication in some ways is dehumanizing. Would anyone be willing to argue that seeing "LOL" is as pleasing as actually hearing someone laugh out loud? I really hope not.

What Dr. Chard seems to miss is that with the exception of the terminally shy and socially awkward, people supplement f2f communication with electronic means of communication. For the vast majority, it isn't a matter of becoming isolated with less and less f2f interaction but a matter of gaining virtual interactions that challenge space and time.

I hope Dr. Chard sees the humor in the incongruity of his article being a topic of discussion on a message board.

I also want you all to know that after writing this, I feel closer to you as a group. (lol)

Bill & Julie

Dear Dr. Chard,
Your great grandmother would undoubtedly agree with your call for "real and personal interaction" as well as your statement, "We are abandoning truly personal interaction in favor of terse data exchanges..."
Only she would be talking about your behavior.

She would say:
* That you moved more than 11 miles away from your parents, making daily personal communication impossible and abandoning your family.
* That you utilize a telephone instead of going to see them.
* You listen to the radio, which is impersonal and dangerous, instead of listening to your neighbors play music.
* You watch movies instead of going to the theater or opera where there are real people.
* Don't get her started on television.
* And while she always rode in her buggy with someone else, if you are like 80% of Americans, you spend up to 3 hours a day alone in that isolated metal box they call a horseless carriage.
* While she wrote letters at least once a week, if you are like most in the Baby Boom generation, you don't even write a letter once a month.

100 years ago, people were as disturbed about the dehumanizing impact of technology as you are today.
Fortunately, life will be better for our kids and our grandchildren with the Internet than life is/was for us, just like life was better overall for us than for your grandmother.

I hope you find the 21st century more enjoyable than your column (August 9, Milwaukee Journal, "Technology pulls plub on social contact") would indicate. It's a great time to be alive.

All the best to you,


Harold Jarche

"terse data exchanges" - yeah right. I recently had some problems with a spammer attacking my website and had immediate and continuing help from online friends in Vancouver, Australia, Germany, etc (whom I've never met F2F).

Interesting that he uses e-mail as the example technology, as this medium has almost extended to its limit and in the true McLuhan sense is starting to flip into its opposite. I presume that he wouldn't know a blog from a wiki.

It looks like Chard is trying to carve out a niche for aging boomers who don't want to face this fact - as Bob said, "the times they are a changin'".

I'm much more connected to more communities than I ever have been thanks to the 'Net.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)