The End of Solitude by William Deresiewicz

Zachariah James Watson

William Deresiewicz begins his take on new media by asking one simple question. “What does the contemporary self want?” He then elaborates on this by addressing how technology has enabled us to become a culture of celebrity and connectivity. That technologies like the camera and computer and how their convergence has lead to an increased sense in the belief that celebrity and connectivity is a very effective way of becoming known. What the contemporary self ultimately wants is to be recognized by and connected with the rest of the world. Whether it be by the millions (Survivor &/or Oprah) and/or by the hundreds (Twitter &/or Facebook), the modern self desires acknowledgement and recognition.

He then goes on to elaborate on the subject of solitude. He addresses the modern perceptions of solitude in the contemporary world. For instance, he uses a college student as example of how solitude is often perceived by people, especially the younger generation, as “unsettling” and that they would “rather sit with a friend even when they have a paper to write.” In other words, most people to today’s world have become accustomed to being much more connected and/or interactive with other people by nearly any means that are possible (person to person, online, phones, Face-time, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) at any, if not every, given moment.

http://chronicle.com/article/The-End-of-Solitude/3708

https://andeverydaylife.wordpress.com/tag/william-deresiewicz/

http://hmmthatsinteresting-justme.blogspot.com/2011/06/end-of-solitude-william-deresiewicz.html

Discussion Questions:

1) What is your take on and/or experience with Deresiewicz’s viewpoint on technology and solitude?

2) Do you believe that modern technology has truly removed solitude from our lives in the modern world?

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