As we spend more and more time with our noses pressed to a screen, we may be more engaged with one another, but we’re not having real conversations. In this December 2013 article, Atlantic staff writer and media expert Megan Garber relates a recent conversation on the subject of conversation with tech author Sherry Turkle.
- Garber emphasizes Turkle’s assertion that “boring” is good. How can boring be good? Summarize Turkle’s argument about the value of “boring” in a conversation. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- How does Garber use Turkle’s statements and opinions in order to make her own argument? What rhetorical devices does she use? Hint: Pay attention to how Garber distinguishes between what Turkle says and what she herself says. For instance, where does Garber explicitly disagree with Turkle? What point is she specifically making in doing so?
- Spend a day observing your screen use and your conversations. Do you think your conversation habits are affected by your screen habits or those of your conversation partners? Why or why not? What do you do in order to be attentive and engaged during face to face conversations? Are you satisfied with your conversations? Why or why not?
- Turkle suggests that to have conversations that are “supremely human” we should put away our screen devices in “sacred spaces” (such as the dinner table) and focus instead on sustaining eye contact and reading each other’s movements. Do you agree? Would you (or do you already) do as Turkle suggests? Why or why not? Write an essay in which you address the topic of declared “time outs” or “phone free zones,” using Garber and Turkle as your They Say and using your own experience as your evidence.