Richtel and Dewey’s arguments to me are like two sides of the same coin. Richtel’s was that a family of people can’t truly connect with each other or their life with technology as a distraction; Dewey’s told the story of a couple that couldn’t connect unless it was via technology. They intersect at this point: Relationships can’t be the same with technology, and I alters how people interact inside and outside of the “screens”. Richtel’s reading told of a family addicted to technology, who wouldn’t spend time together with it, or be able to live life without it. Mr. Campbell wants to be the first to know and experience everything technologically, yet longs to be in pioneer days so he would be totally without it. He almost misses deadlines, and blows off his kids for it; where Mrs. Campbell burns cookies, and their son can’t even focus on his school, claiming when trying to study “A little voice would be saying ‘look up’ and I’d look up”. This near addiction is concerning for the family, but for all of us, as they are merely an example of a much, much larger whole. Dewey’s argument was that her relationship lived and died with technology, that connecting with someone using technology was not the same as connecting with them “IRL”; she said she didn’t even like being around his things: “I felt more comfortable in my room, with my things, and with his presence confined to a laptop screen.” As if that is the only place that they could exist together.
Dewey makes a fair but confusing point when she says “I hear 90% of human communication is nonverbal. Skype…anywhere in the world.” First of all, that isn’t credible data, as it’s coming from word of mouth of a college student (though I have heard many times that he majority of human communication is nonverbal, and it makes sense and I believe it). But what she’s saying is that accurate communication can easily be lost through technology as it’s almost exclusively textual. Skype is set apart because it allows face-to-face conversation in real time, without the ability to lose context, tone, or inflection, and gives you the body language and facial expression, which is imperative for assured accurate communication. Seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice still isn’t really the same as a true face-to-face conversation though, because only time spent actually with a person lets you get to know them, there’s no accounting for “vibes” on the internet. Her argument is definitely persuasive. “But after we kissed and ate pizza and went back to his house, we struggled for things to talk about.”- I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a more classic millennial tale of internet relationships that don’t pan out, (not always romantic ones either, I met my freshman year roommate on Facebook, loved her and within a few weeks we hated each other).