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Kristin Medina
ENG 101
Professor Milton
Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Connected, But Alone?

An author named Sherry Turkle wrote the article, Connected, But Alone? This article

was a speech given by Turkle at a TED Conference in April 2012. Turkle is an Abby Rockefeller

Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. She is also a licensed clinical

psychologist with a degree from Harvard University. The article, Connected but Alone? by

Sherry Turkle persuades us that technology ends up hiding people from each other even when

they are regularly connected. Her intended audience appears to be people who are involved with

digital technology and education but also the public in general which is anyone. Her purpose is

to show that although she is still excited about technology, she is troubled that it is changing the

way people interact to each other. She believes people are sacrificing conversation for simple

connection.

Turkle identifies within the first couple minutes of her twenty-minute speech that she is a

mother. She uses pathos by sharing with the audience a picture of her daughter and her

daughters friends sitting in a living room. Each one of the girls are on their cell phones and do

not appear to be communicating with one another. This draws forth emotion from the audience

because it allows them to see a significant part of her personal life. An example such as this one

and others like it provides emotional significance that coaxes a reaction from the audience as
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they begin to relate it to the way in which they communicate with their friends, family, and

individuals around them while using technology.

In addition, Turkle uses an ethical appeal; she reveals that she is a clinical psychologist.

Her experience and long career provide her with a proper appeal for her audience. She tells her

readers that she has been working with the virtual communities since 1996. Her tone is

professional but also down-to-earth. For example, she states, I see that people cant get enough

of each other, if and only if they can have each other at a distance, in amounts they can control. I

call it the Goldilocks effect: not to close, not too far, just right (Turkle). She sounds educated

but also uses the example of a fairy tale many Americans can relate with from their own

childhood.

Moreover, the author provides examples of peoples problems with communication

currently. These examples seem to have a strong emotional appeal. For instance, she relates

An 18-year-old boy who uses texting for almost everything says to me wistfully, Someday,

someday, but certainly not now, Id like to learn how to have a conversation (Turkle). In

another example she tells how a 50-year-old man believes that he doesnt have any real

colleagues at work anymore. Hes afraid to interrupt other workers because theyre too busy on

their email (Turkle). These situations may influence the reader to feel concerned about these

communication problems.

The way in which she presents the information not only appeals to the emotions of the

audience; it is delivered in an organized and effective manner. This logical series of

argumentation and persuasion signifies a strong level of maturity and efficiency. She uses a

PowerPoint presentation to illustrate her points, and a few of her slides contain pictures, but her
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use of simple phrases and words make the presentation relatively easy to comprehend. An

example of this can be seen in her statement, Were letting technology take us places that we

dont want to go (Turkle). This may be a simple statement in itself, but it has large implications

for the audience. The words letting and take us used in that context implies that individuals

have control over the way that they are impacted by external influences, which is a meaningful

principle for the audience to understand and take a lesson from.

Furthermore, Turkle talks about another emotional appeal when she speaks about

purchasing robots for the elderly. The robot seemed to be looking into her eyes. It seemed to be

following the conversation. The woman was comforted (Turkle). It gives the impression that

those humans interaction no longer exists. This is quite upsetting that the elderly has to resort to

an object that doesnt feel anything, instead of the comfort of their family. That is what the world

has come to, where we cant have a decent conversation with our own family that we have to buy

a robot to keep our family entertained. It does touches people heart because there are many

families in which they put their parents into homes and pay strangers to care for them due to

them not having patience for their parents.

In conclusion, Technology isnt going anywhere. People need to be aware of the

extremity use of the technology taking over their lives and to be able to control it. As we read

articles about issues that concern us, we should also be aware of rhetorical techniques that

authors use to persuade us to accept their opinions. It is important to be able to analyze these

techniques so we can decide which ones provide us with valid evidence. Likewise, being aware

of invalid or faulty evidence can protect us from drawing the wrong conclusions when deciding

about an issue.
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