Tag Archives: Digital Culture

Alone together?

I spotted this image on Reddit last week, and it reminded me of some of the themes that came up in our discussion of The Machine Stops and our reflections on what it means to live in a digital culture. 

People in our culture constantly worry about how we’re at once connected and disconnected—see, for example, books like The Dumbest GenerationThe Shallows, and Alone Together. To me, this image is a helpful reminder that people often think in presentist terms, as if our own historical moment is in every way exceptional and different. The people on this train also look “alone together” to me, and it offers a helpful reminder that people in social situations spent lots of time staring down at newspapers long before they spent lots of time staring down at smartphones.