I recently wrote a post entitled “Wired to Connect” which explored how we are expressing our drive to connect with others in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and MySapce. A few weeks later I read a really interesting article called “Am I Still Here: Looking for Validation in a Wired World” which also explored the idea of “connecting,” but took a more skeptical view of the role of new technology.
The article, by Anthony Doerr, points out the ways in which, through technology, our desire to connect with others can develop into a persistent need for validation. To make this point he introduces us to his “dark twin,” named Z.
He writes, “I like weather; Z survives in spite of it. I like skiing; Z likes surfing the web. I like looking at trees; Z likes reading news feeds. I pull weeds in the garden; Z whispers in my ear about climate change, nuclear proliferation, ballooning health-insurance premiums.” As a environmentalist with a gadget geek tucked away inside, his article struck home with me. Yet, while this characterization seemed spot on, it was something he wrote later that I found particularly insightful. See if you recognize this scenario: (more…)