Read Life on the Screen by Sherry Turkle Online


Sherry Turkle is rapidly becoming the sociologist of the Internet, and that's beginning to seem like a good thing. While her first outing, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, made groundless assertions and seemed to be carried along more by her affection for certain theories than by a careful look at our current situation, Life on the Screen is a balanced andSherry Turkle is rapidly becoming the sociologist of the Internet, and that's beginning to seem like a good thing. While her first outing, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, made groundless assertions and seemed to be carried along more by her affection for certain theories than by a careful look at our current situation, Life on the Screen is a balanced and nuanced look at some of the ways that cyberculture helps us comment upon real life (what the cybercrowd sometimes calls RL). Instead of giving in to any one theory on construction of identity, Turkle looks at the way various netizens have used the Internet, and especially MUDs (Multi-User Dimensions), to learn more about the possibilities available in apprehending the world. One of the most interesting sections deals with gender, a topic prone to rash and partisan pronouncements. Taking as her motto William James's maxim "Philosophy is the art of imagining alternatives," Turkle shows how playing with gender in cyberspace can shape a person's real-life understanding of gender. Especially telling are the examples of the man who finds it easier to be assertive when playing a woman, because he believes male assertiveness is now frowned upon while female assertiveness is considered hip, and the woman who has the opposite response, believing that it is easier to be aggressive when she plays a male, because as a woman she would be considered "bitchy." Without taking sides, Turkle points out how both have expanded their emotional range. Other topics, such as artificial life, receive an equally calm and sage response, and the first-person accounts from many Internet users provide compelling reading and good source material for readers to draw their own conclusions. ...

Title : Life on the Screen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780684833484
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Life on the Screen Reviews

  • Melissa
    2019-05-13 13:34

    Oh my goodness, this book is absolutely *amazing.* What a truly insightful cultural study on computers and psychology, Internet culture, and contemporary life. Sherry Turkle writes in an easy-to-read manner, and references a variety of research studies and human experiences to tell the captivating story of "life on the screen."Some quotable quotes:1) "But in the daily practice of many computer users, windows have become a powerful metaphor for thinking about the self as a multiple, distributed system." (p. 14)2) Interesting: "Kitchen mathematics relies on the familiar feel and touch of everyday activities." (p. 57)3) "Exploring the Web is a process of trying one thing, then another, of making connections, of bringing disparate elements together. It is an exercise in bricolage." (p. 61)4) "Certain human actions depended on the soul and the spirit, the possibilities of spontaneity over programming." (p. 82)5) Love this: "Some computers might be considered intelligent and might even become conscious, but they are not born of mothers, raised in families, they do not know the pain of loss, or live with the certainty that they will die." (p. 84)6) "And of course, a machine could never grasp human meanings that reach beyond language, 'the glance that a mother and father share over the bed of a sleeping child.'" (p. 108)7) "Although our culture has traditionally presented consistency and coherence as natural, feelings of fragmentation abound, now more than ever. Indeed, it has been argued that these feelings of fragmentation characterize postmodern life." (p. 144)8) "Meanwhile, social beings that we are, we are trying (as Marshall McLuhan said) to retribalize." (p. 178) -- as a result of lack of a main street, union hall, or town meeting9) "But is it really sensible to suggest that the way to revitalize community is to site alone in our rooms, typing at our networked computers and filling our lives with virtual friends?" (p. 235) As a sidebar: I read this book with Allison, one of my very good college friends! It was a great way to stay in touch long-distance.

  • Alicia Fox
    2019-05-23 14:32

    This 20-year-old book was a chore to read. This was not a case of reading an older text and realizing a great mind predicted the future. Turkle completely missed the mark. She expresses no or little concept of how people have come to use computers and the internet. The book is a swamp of outdated and poorly applied Freudian drivel and misguided sociological and psychological thoughts.Then I thought, huh, maybe she's not analyzing how users approach computers, but how programmers do. This makes more sense, as she (I believe) worked or works at MIT. In this sense, it's possibly that she was so enmeshed with 80s and 90s computer culture (those who designed computers back then), who were largely convinced they were godlike and believed what they were doing bordered on the epic, that she couldn't see the everyday applications and implications of computers. Or maybe I'm just underwhelmed.Turkle envisions unworkable ideas becoming major issues in the future (that is, today) which are not now major issues. For example, she focuses on us forming personal connections with tech which keep us from real people, as if we'd rather spend all day flirting with Siri. I got bored and may have missed it, but she seems to never grasp the social media phenomenon.So basically, an unreadable snooze. The academic tone is the least of this book's problems. Read it if you (a) need a cure for insomnia or (b) want to read someone predicting the future who is 95% incorrect.

  • Wayland Smith
    2019-05-24 20:32

    Interesting, if somewhat dryly academic at times. This investigates some of the sociological ramifications of the internet and online socializing. There were some good ideas, but not all were explored well.It also seemed to be written before some major game changers happened, like Second Life and Warcraft, to name two. It was worth the read, especially as I got it for free, but it wouldn't be for everyone and I can't say I'd recommend buying it. I do give her points for tackling a field not too many have, to the best of my knowledge.

  • Jacqueline
    2019-04-30 17:12

    This book was groundbreaking at the time, now it's very dated, which can make it difficult at times. Again, I have some reservations about the methodologies that I just can't ignore. If you're interested in identity and the Internet though, you need to read it - it is referenced EVERYWHERE and you just need to be familiar with some of the early work that really got the ball rolling for identity politics and the Internet.

  • Yair Vera
    2019-05-17 21:20

    Los artilugios tecnológicos resultan ser una extensión de las personas en la actualidad, del mismo modo como nos mostramos en las redes sociales ha comenzado a modelar el comportamiento, el pensamiento y la forma en que percibimos nuestro cuerpo.La psicóloga estadounidense Sherry Turkle hace un análisis de cómo han cambiado nuestras percepciones frente a diversos contextos humanos a partir de la manera cómo interactuamos frente a las pantallas y el ciberespacio. Describe en cada capítulo la evolución de las relaciones sociales mediadas por los computadores con una clarividente precisión. A pesar de que el libro fue escrito el 1995, las percepciones y observaciones de Turkle aún tienen siguen vigentes en tiempos de teléfonos inteligentes y el maremoto informativo.

  • Petra
    2019-05-17 19:14

    I skimmed through most of the book, and read a couple of relevant chapters. It was interesting, but not very revolutionary, too anecdotal, drew strange conclusions, and talked waaaay too much about Freud.

  • Vivian Sophia
    2019-05-26 18:29

    Academic style makes it a book you wouldn't read just for fun.

  • Brett
    2019-05-25 13:24

    Highly insightful, if a bit of a difficult read at times. Be aware, this isn't a light read - this is a book you study, somewhat. It is, however, brilliant and very well worth a read.Though this book's description almost universally brings up how it discusses how we form identity and work with multiple personalities on the Internet, only about a third of the book is about that in a literal sense. The first third of the book is primarily focused on how our ideas of computing have evolved since the inception of the computer - from modernist calculation to postmodernist simulation, from rigid, rule-based programming styles to tinkering, constructivist programming styles. The second third primarily focuses on how computers and networks have challenged our ideas of what it means to be alive and intelligent, and to question to what extent we are machine and vice versa.This had initially annoyed me, as I thought these were merely opening acts before the main performance - but what I found instead once I arrived at the final third of the book, was that these previous ideas were very necessary to enhance the discussion. Overall, it is very worthwhile to read this book until the very end, as all the ideas presented build upon each other. It feels criminal how the other portions of the book are barely mentioned in the stock summaries I have seen.Of course, there is the obvious to mention - this book is old now. It was first published in 1995, and obviously the Internet has come a long way since then - in particular, MUDs are virtually unknown, nowadays. But now a secondary form of study arises from the book - an analysis of what we thought the Internet might bring us versus what it actually has brought us, which leads to a better understanding of our current situation within it. The knowledge here may be old, but it is not antiquated. For someone highly interested in technosociology and the psychology of personality, this is an invaluable read.I also feel I should add a small disclaimer - the book isn't exactly 355 pages long, as its profile states. It's closer 270 pages; the remaining portion is an annotated bibliography, index of topics, and 3 or 4 pages of how the book was written. Depending on your take, it might be a shorter read than you'd be lead to believe.I deduct a star only for the books sometimes dodgy use of mechanics and grammar - for the most part it is fine, but some sentences really have to be reread a few times. Granted this is already a heavy, scholarly read, this issue can sometimes really hinder the reading. Four out of five stars. Highly recommended.

  • A. Naguiba
    2019-05-14 14:18

    Unnervingly relevant and accurate by today's standards and vertiginous evolution of online culture.

  • FiveBooks
    2019-04-27 14:13

    Aleks Krotoski, broadcaster, journalist, and academic specialising in technology and interactivity, has chosen to discuss Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet on FiveBooks as one of the top five on her subject - Virtual Living, saying that:"... Turkle is a brilliant observer of the online world, and what makes the Net incredibly interesting is that it was never intended to be a social medium. They created this kind of pipeline for trading hard data between scientists and sharing computer resources in the military and for some reason we insane people decide to start pouring other things down that pipeline, like, for example, our social lives...."The full interview is available here: Lev Grossman has chosen to discuss Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet on FiveBooks as one of the top five on his subject- The World Wide Web, saying that:"...What is emerging, Turkle argues, is a new sense of identity, one which is de-centred and multiple. She describes the trends in computer design, in artificial intelligence, and in people's experience of virtual environments..."The full interview is available here:

  • Kent
    2019-05-11 13:36

    Turkle's Alone Together, published last year, is good, but not nearly as engaged with the more fundamental ideas that lie beneath our psychology and technology's effect on it. The first couple sections of Life on the Screen address a continuing dichotomy between top-down design and learn through use. Or, as Turkle puts it, between modernists and postmodernists. And maybe that's what I appreciate more about Life on the Screen Turkle is more invested in relating the world of technology to the world at large. She uses terms that would be more familiar to culture critics. Alone Together feels more like a series of case studies. They're fun to read. But I feel more compelled by Life on the Screen. I pose more significant questions after reading the chapters in it.Both books wrestle with the definition of "artificial intelligence," for instance. And both consider whether its human perception of intelligence or objectively fulfilled notions of intelligence that would define A.I. It's just Life on the Screen is more willing to entertain the objective definition of intelligence, and therefore to truly open the issues surrounding our work with the machines.

  • Billy
    2019-05-16 16:14

    Interesting to get such a detailed perspective on MUDers and early users of the internet. I think the book has still remained fairly relevant for a relatively small subculture, but I question it's relevance in really understanding internet users of today. Given that there has been such a shift away from anonymous, role-playing types of interactions into more personal types of connections, can these same principles apply?My favorite part of the book was the part that discussed formal software development vs bricolage. I have always considered both to be very justifiable and worthwhile in different situations and it is nice to read about others that feel the same.

  • Swantje
    2019-05-18 20:26

    Some very interesting ideas are explored. But I would have liked it better if it went into more depth on one idea instead of giving only one or a couple of examples for each. The evidence seemed mostly anecdotal instead of exploring whether many people would have the same kinds of experiences. I remember some of the technologies she explored, like MUDs. So especially there I was surprised how shallow and obvious some of her conclusions were.

  • Adrian
    2019-05-08 15:28

    Este libro creo que salió antes de la película "The Matrix". Es un importante estudio que nos ayuda a reflexionar sobre la dependencia de la que podemos ser víctimas con los dispositivos con pantalla. (computadoras, celulares, video juegos, tv, relojes, etc) ideal para releer y no olvidar la advertencia.

  • Iben
    2019-05-02 19:14

    I read chaptes 0, 1, 9 and 10 and skimmed chapters 2,3,4,5,6 and 8 as they aren't relevant to my paper and subject. Turkle brings up some issues that are still point on today, but she also spends way too much of her energy on MUDs. There are other ways to create an identiy online and I was disappointed she didn't explore any of them.

  • Digibrill
    2019-04-29 20:06

    Presents the challenges to the solitary self with multiple selves in open windows, mirrors of different aspects of self. The power given to us by Internet and other network infrastructure by their carrying diverse applications lets us explore our personal complexities. I don't buy that this is inevitable, nor that such things as gender can change - just that change and evolution is possible.

  • Shane
    2019-05-02 18:35

    Many interesting points, and a lot of angles covered, the only real flaw with this book is the abundance of separate directions that it takes the reader in, with similar conclusions. There is a tonne of good information here, and this is a perfect grounding book for how real and simulated (through digital media) life interact with one another. Also, loads of interesting case studies and stories.

  • Sara
    2019-04-30 15:16

    I read this back in 2002 after reading an article by Turkle in a mass comm class. I should really come back to it and see how things have changed in ten years, and how Turkle's arguments have played out.

  • Emily
    2019-04-29 20:08

    Maybe this will help me figure out the meaning of Facebook, among other things.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-27 13:23

    Dated, but significant.

  • Tara Trout
    2019-05-23 15:30

    GREAT book, very salient and explains a great deal about isolation and identity resulting from technological advancement/innovation.

  • Alexandra
    2019-05-22 19:06

    I can't help it I just think she gets so many things wrong.

  • Jonathan El-Bizri
    2019-05-06 14:08

    A little outdated at this point.

  • Geoff Cain
    2019-05-26 15:33

    This is a good sociological and psychological look at online worlds and people's lives online.

  • Nick Mather
    2019-05-18 20:14

    Interesting book that was published at the beginning of the cyber craze. Turkel investigates how people experiment with their notions of self and gender while online, challenging our concept of self.

  • L.A. Jacob
    2019-05-27 21:34

    Tell me something I don't know? I know RL is supposedly more involving, but she at least admits that most of the sexual attraction is in the mind.