Monday, September 21, 2015

Solitude and Community in the Age of Social Media

Solitude and community each face new challenges in this age of online connectedness. Does gazing at smartphones, video games, online movies, and web pages really bring us together? In this busy world, how do we find time for personal reflection? These topics will be addressed at two Oregon Humanities programs at the Newport Public Library this coming weekend.

Lost and Found: Community in the Age of the Internet is a free conversation with Tod Sloan on Saturday, September 26 at 2:00 p.m.

Tod Sloan
Many social theorists agree that community life has been transformed by communications technologies. How do these technologies both connect and disconnect us? Where online do we engage deeply with friends, family, and neighbors alike?

Sloan is a professor of psychology in the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling in Portland, Oregon. He was trained in a field known as personality theory, which addresses fundamental questions about human nature.

Going Solo: The Value of Solitude in a Social World is a free conversation with Jennifer Allen on Sunday, September 27 at 2:00 p.m. 

Jennifer Allen
In today’s busy world, many people struggle to find solitude and to be comfortable with it when they do. Why is solitude peaceful for some, and punishment for others? How does solitude help—and hinder—our creative and intellectual endeavors? Is our understanding of what it means to be alone evolving? How does our experience of solitude, or lack thereof, affect our relationships and communities? How does place affect our experience of being alone, and how is our identity shaped by solitary reflection?

Allen is Director of Programs at Oregon Humanities, where she has worked since 2004. Her graduate research focused in part on the cultural impacts of technology, which sparked an ongoing interest in the challenges of solitude in our busy and connected lives.

These programs are sponsored by Oregon Humanities, with support from the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state's future.

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