90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:

Exploring Our Social Connectedness In This Digital Age

(Saad Farouque/Flickr)

(Saad Farouque/Flickr)

In this digital age, we “check in” wherever we go. Texts, posts, tags and tweets have forever changed the way we work, live and interact with one another. But in the midst of this digital revolution, there is increasing concern about the price we might be paying by always being plugged in.

For the next five weeks, Radio Boston — in conjunction with WBUR at large — will be hosting an exploration of these issues in a series called “Digital Lives”.


  • Iris Adler, WBUR program manager
  • William Powers, award-winning journalist and author of “Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building A Good Life in the Digital Age”
  • Nancy Baym, principal researcher with Microsoft, based in Cambridge, and author of the book, “Personal Connections in the Digital Age”

Other stories from this show:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • ToyYoda

    I have a distant relationship with my parents due to our turbulent history.  When I interact with them in ‘real life’, I can feel alot of hate and anger build.  It takes a good deal of effort to be civil.  So, I avoid them as much a I can, and I see them only about once a year.

    But with texting, I find that I don’t have the upwelling of feelings and I actually can ‘interact’ with them more.  I am long way from making peace with my parents, but I know that texting will be an important role in  the healing process.

  • RiverVox

    I think it’s a matter of adaptation and boundary setting. We have a long standing rule in our house that it’s OK to read at breakfast but at dinner you must engage with family members.  Now we’ve adapted that to technology.  No toys, books or tech at the dinner table! 

  • Jimicyber

    I was iced twice by the person receiving calls.  Obviously, you have little or no calls on this topic and no comments.  Plus the person who answered the phone probably cannot relate to an elder’s perspective on the contemporary.  Plus he was rude (a sign of our times and technology).

    However, I dealt with this topic via e-mail and social media back in 1995.  Yes, all of these things were happening, in an embryonic stage,  back in those ancient years.

    I came up with the term “electronic slavery.”  We dealt with each other in chat rooms, via e-mail, and instant messages.  I wrote a piece pertaining to being engulfed by virtual reality.  The character who spoke my words expressed regret about not seeing nature anymore.  All he became involved with was what was on his screen.  

    Now there is better technology and people cannot relate the same way we did with DOS based Windows.  There was a definite line drawn between us and the technology.  Also, we had greater control than today’s black box operating systems. 

     However, we could sense and feel the Internet’s power and potential.  It is now very dangerous thing because of the damage is inflicting on human interaction, communication, and social life. 

    Many times have I spoken to someone and they did not respond because they are plugged into their music, tuned into their smart phone, and spaced out of the physical world.  The devastating thing is to encounter these people while crossing the street as they drive towards you.  My greatest frustration is to try communicate vital information to someone who is plugged in and tuned out!

    Not enough thought goes into adapting these technologies.  Sure, they are fun, but very dangerous, too.  They threaten the basis of human culture and spirituality.

    What happens when the decision making process is relinquished and turned over to our former toys?  

    *Tim Leary’s prescription has been filled. 


    Roxbury, MA

    * “Tune in, turn on, and drop out.”

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

  • Listen: Weekdays, 3 p.m. on 90.9 FM
  • Live Call-In: (800) 423-TALK
  • Listener Voicemail: (617) 358-0607
Most Popular
This site is best viewed with: Firefox | Internet Explorer 9 | Chrome | Safari