Review: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm not a fan of Turkle. I've read her previous book and seen her TED Talks. I find she comes to egregious conclusions about how people interact with scant evidence. In this book, she argues that people are growing incapable of talking or having sophisticated conversations and that it's largely our digital technology that is creating this rift. There are several issues that I have with this book. The first is that it is clearly focused on upper-middle and upper-class people--the schools and colleges she focuses on are largely elite schools. I find this problematic because it doesn't actually reflect society as a whole and how different groups are engaging in meaning-making through their digital devices. I also dislike how she draws conclusions about how and what interactions mean from people, rather than allowing them to decide what it means. She often seems to be the sole authority of experience rather than allowing others to define their experience. Finally, to accept her book blindly, you would believe that youth and adults are incapable of having deep and complex conversations and that this is a wide-sweeping epidemic. Yet, anyone who sits in a coffee shop or restaurant and listens to the conversations going on around them, they are likely to find this to be entirely false. I spent most of the book frustrated with long meanderings with little substance.

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