Cristin Norine has embarked on a 30-day Public Isolation Project to learn how technology walls people off even while connecting them. Norine, who is living in a small storefront, in complete public view, will only communicate via technological-based forms of communication until Dec. 1. Norine said she has seen how technology has affected the way she communicates or does not communicate with the people in her life, and she is out to prove a point.
While I certainly do not think I could survive for 30 days without actual human interaction, I appreciate the point Norine is trying to make by doing so. I get frustrated when one of my close friends from high school simply puts “what’s up” on my Facebook page, yet does not answer my phone call. I get frustrated when I can’t reach a colleague by phone or in his or her office, but I can get an e-mail back in five minutes. But I also know I overuse technology. I sometimes have to make a conscious effort to call my little brother who lives states away, because otherwise we’d only talk through text or Facebook. I can remember when I used to make plans with friends over a phone call, but now they are made through text most often.
We’re all guilty of letting technology take over a little bit of our lives. I suppose, as with most things in life, the secret is finding a balance – the balance between the connivence of technology and the personal nature of human contact; the balance between new media and old.