Archives for June, 2012
What is Sherry Turkle's "Goldilocks Effect?"In her new book, "Alone Together, Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other," cultural analyst and psychologist Sherry Turkle describes the Goldilocks Effect like this: "Not too close. Not too far. Just right." It's also known as the Goldilocks Principle. (Last year, when I was in the throes of my eating disorder I was driving myself and everyone around me to distraction by wanting to be "just right." But it was an ephemeral obsession because "just right" for me was always five pounds less. Impossible, of course.) This is the new normal of our digital age of texting and emailing and posting and online connecting in all its many forms and endless platforms. It's a factor in digital intimacy, but I'm not going into the Robotics side of this story here. Too much for me to handle right now.
Less is more for me...You know, I have lost count of my Facebook "Friends." At this very moment, as I am in Blogging overdrive so I don't care about the numbers of Twitter or Linked In or Pinterest connections I have. I hate numbers anyway. "Less is more," for me. But then, I'm not normal in any way, new or otherwise. We know that, don't we?
In front of me I've placed two dog-eared, yellowing paperbacks from my library. I've kept them for years. Wallflower at the Orgy and Crazy Salad (first editions) both by magnificently multi-talented, versatile, prolific and relentlessly funny Nora Ephron. Ephron died yesterday of "pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukaemia," her son Jacob Bernstein told the New York Times in today's edition.
No one is forever...But somehow, I always believed Nora would be. (She was just 71.) She always brought a smile to my face. A giggle. Like another of my favourite resident New York writers, Calvin Trillin. They're both entirely different, but immeasurably engaging and amusing, at times laugh-out-loud funny because their writing in all its forms pricks our nerves, tickles us, speaks their truths with a visceral honesty that hits us where we live – in our heads and our hearts (and our tushes). Nora went beyond journalism into screenwriting, novel writing, directing, producing, and blogging. When it came to writing and a comic, but always humane vision, there was nothing she couldn't do.
I've been in touch with Sherry Turkle, initially to request an interview.
The pre-eminent scholar on technology and us...Right now, she's buried under a pile of dissertations, grading or marking, as we say here in this country, and how well I understand the pressure of that task. It is backbreaking work. She declined my request most graciously, but surprisingly expressed an interest in this blog. Sherry Turkle is the pre-eminent scholar on technology and its impact on our lives. How it is defining our lives and our identities ~ who we are. Right now I'm reading everything I can get my hands on by her and about her, as I am unable to interview her.
About Sherry Turkle..."She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist. "She has been studying our changing relationships with digital culture for over three decades, charting how mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics are changing our work, families, and identity. Profiles of Professor Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Wired Magazine. She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, and 20/20." I need to research my subjects... I cannot write about anything without research.
UPDATE: It is now 4:52 p.m. on Monday, June 25. It is Day 15 of my Blogathon. I had planned to continue the discussion I began yesterday, when I arrived home, but I just did and I'm exhausted. I took the bus and the subway. Therefore, I hope you'll accept that this is my post for today. Tomorrow, I'll finish writing Is "Texting Destroying Our Humanity, Part Two." This has not been a good morning because of all kinds of online demands have distracted me and kept me from my main obligations.
Emails. Texts. Research. Arrrrghhhh!I had a small emergency that had to be dealt with fast. Online. That takes time. It takes twice as long, online, actually. And not because I type slowly. I'm a 150-word-a-minute girl. Started on a manual typewriter. Do you remember those? Then another instant demand came through. And another.
There's little spontaneity online ~ you must wait...People do not always respond quickly. Instantly. Like on the phone. In live engaged conversation. True, emotions sometimes get in the way, but on the other hand, non-verbal cues are very telling. Frankly, they're as important as the words. Still, everything takes so much time. I'm not patient and I don't like waiting.
Today, I'm still pretty tired. Feeling "written out." Exhausted. Overwhelmed by my commitment to blog for 31 days straight. I have another 17 days to go. (Eeeeeek!) For some reason I cannot manage to get a few posts written and "in the can" so I can rest a bit. And breathe. But this might be that post.
Ideas are still flooding into my headFor example, I had considered posting about the heinous bullying of Karen Klein, the 68-year-old school bus monitor by four teenage boys in Greece, N.Y. That repulsive story has already received too much air time and was well-handled here by Psych Central Founder and Editor-in-Chief John M. Grohol, PhD on June 21st in a World of Psychology post. I have some other perspectives on this incident that feed into my discussion earlier this month about discrimination and prejudice. Right now, however, I simply do not have the energy to explore them, so I'm going to recharge before I do.
Something else is really bothering me...So, I'm going muse about that. It's more than just bothering me, I'm worried. Seriously. Perhaps it's a social ill. Or just a social trend. I don't know. I don't even know if it's fair to call it "social." I think it's anti-social. You tell me. We live in an increasingly quiet household. Besides our dogs who live to alert us to at any activity they see outside, our phones almost never ring. I've disconnected one of our two landlines because they are becoming obsolete. Most people prefer email or texting, besides my mother and my youngest step-daughter who do call us and we love to hear their voices. Several years ago, I posted about this in my earlier incarnation of Coming Out Crazy. In that July 3rd, 2009 post, I asked "Is Texting versus Talking destroying the human dialogue?"
I'm very tired. Blogged out. My blog posts are not up to scratch, in my opinion. I know because you're not commenting and a blog is a community. Without you, where's our community? So this little post is simply an update to let you know that I'm not going to spend hours posting today.
Today's a "mental health day"During my 30-year career writing for a daily newspaper, for radio and for magazines, as a freelancer, I always took a day off from time to time. Everyone needs to recharge, reflect and refresh to continue to write, which is enormously taxing work.
Me, too. I hope you'll understandNever, ever have I published 12 days in a row, as I have here. And here, I've actually posted 14 times in 12 days. That's a lot. You can get burned out at that rate. I need to prevent burnout. Also, my blog posts average between 500 and over 1,000 words. Ernest Hemmingway wrote 1,000 words a day. Would that I could write like Ernest Hemmingway – in my dreams – a journalist before he became a novelist. He wrote for The Toronto Star.
My Dandie Dinmonts are a rare and endangered breed. Only 200, if that, are born world-wide each year.
That's why I'm so passionate about this breedDandies have tiny and fragile litters. Usually only two or three puppies. One of Lucy's litters was a singleton. The only litter Riley has ever sired was four puppies, but one of them died. Dandies, with their distinctive white topknots, black button noses and penetrating black eyes, are so beautiful, they're a natural people magnet. We're often stopped in the street. They are sweet-natured, loyal, fun-loving, mischievous and very sensitive little animals. They wag their tails in circles. It's the most charming thing to watch. Often, Riley's goes so fast I can barely see it. He's won tail wagging contests.
The most wondrous thing about my dogs is their innate "cuddle-ability." Riley and Lucy love nothing more than to be held and petted. They beg for it. And who can resist a face like Riley's?
My dogs have "cuddle-ability"...This is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier trait. They so love to cuddle that at all our Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada public events we have a special "Cuddling Parlour" where anyone can sit down and "cuddle a Dandie."
What is so magical about cuddling a dog?It's no secret that petting any dog or cat, for that matter, creates a magnificent neuroscientific reaction in the person doing the cuddling and petting. A bonding hormone is produced called Oxytocin, the same hormone nursing mothers produce when they are breast feeding their children. It's also called the hormone of love.
A daily blog post on mental health and wellness is a real challenge. More than I imagined when I blithely began this blogathon on June 11 on a whim after reading about Margarita Tartakovsky's success on her 31-day blogathon. I want to stay hard and close to my subject, Coming Out Crazy, but there are times when I long to digress. And if the truth be known, craziness is a wild and woolly subject. We're all crazy at times in our lives. Being a bit crazy is quite liberating, I think. So I hope you'll understand if I share some of the strategies that keep me sane.
Although I do not have any clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder, I live with anxiety all the time. It's my default mode, part of my emotionally sensitive complexion. Today is one of those days. Something's going to happen... Not here. Not to me directly. I'm worried about it and I won't even be here to worry about it. My anxiety and I will be traveling around downtown on the TTC again in the sweltering heat because that's the way my life is these days. Distraction is the best way for me to deal with anxiety... I knit. I observe. I people-watch. I try to engage people in conversation, but very few people like to chat these days. People hate to pick up phones. I detest email. It's toneless. Conversation seems to be a dying art. Later this evening, which is why I'm weighing in now at 8:30 a.m. with this post, I'll attend a closing meeting of a charity for which I volunteer. Actually, it's an evening to honour the dedicated teachers who work at the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (CCAC). Volunteering is and always has been a part of my life. It's important to feel part of a community even though, in this case, Cabbagetown is not my geographical community. I love being involved in community service. And I love Cabbagetown...