Any TC readers brave the rabid hordes of Mac
addicts enthusiasts to pick up an iPhone? Back when the iPod achieved ubiquity, some people wondered if the very nature of the device threatened the relationships and interaction that underpin society, and possibly also encouraged a spiritually destructive focus on ourselves.
Bruce Weinstein at Business Week resurrects some familiar but quite serious charges, this time about the iPhone. He's not mincing words:
Our social fabric is in danger of being ripped to shreds as we swap electronic connection for personal relationships. The very nature of community depends upon us being connected to one another. Being civil means, or at least used to mean, valuing our relationships beyond our immediate circle of family and friends. If upon leaving home we immerse ourselves in idle chatter on the phone, listen to music nonstop at volume levels that preclude hearing the world around us, read every piece of e-mail sent since the last time we checked, or hunt for bargains on the Internet, we miss the chance on the way to work to make new friendships, renew old ones, or simply say hello to a stranger. A community is not merely a collection of individuals. It is a web—the kind with a small "w"—of interconnectedness, and this web cannot exist for long if each of its constituents is concerned primarily or exclusively with itself.
At The Point blog, J. Clinton has some good commentary on Weinstein's essay.
What do you think? Does Weinstein make a good point? Or is this the modern equivalent of yelling at those whippersnapper neighborhood kids to get off your lawn?