Monday, October 21, 2013

The Knitwits Connection

This weekend, Janet and I were talking about Knitwits and what we do best--we're really good at hanging out and connecting with our customers.  "Knitwits-Where Friends Are Made". We have lots of friends and customers dropping by to knit and talk. Old friends met new friends, knitters helped fellow knitters and patterns like Turkish Bed Socks quickly become the project of the week.  The "Hanging Out with Friends Factor" is a key ingredient in what makes Knitwits work!

I went home yesterday (Sunday), turned on the TV, cleared off the UFOs from the couch and laid down for a little nap--still feeling a little punk from my cold. I woke up a little later and Bill Moyers & Company was on the TV. This is not a program that I usually watch but I was groggy and I couldn't find the remote amongst the UFO pile.

Bill's guest was Clinical Psychologist, Sherry Turkle, and the topic was the effect of technology on social behavior. As eyes opened and my brain woke up, I became engrossed in the discussion!

BILL MOYERS: If you’ve ever lost your smartphone, as I have, you know it can feel like a death. The experience highlights just how our world has been engulfed by social media and how our technology has become a vital organ of our being.

And it's happened so fast. Facebook is not quite 10 years old, Twitter is younger still. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told a reporter that in 2016 -- just three years from now -- “people are going to be sharing eight to ten times as much stuff.”

Like anything hurtling us forward at breakneck speed, the advancements are great, and so are the dangers. For every Arab Spring or political movement using social media to foment change, there may also be campaigns of abuse and hate. For every Wikileak and revealed secret, there’s the encroachment on personal privacy by the NSA. For every new friend meeting through cyberspace, there’s the risk of estrangement from the real world.

Our devices change not only what we do but also who we are. So I’ve come to Sherry Turkle to try to explain how and why. She’s a clinical psychologist who was one of the first to study the impact of computers on culture and society.

SHERRY TURKLE: Well, I call it "alone together." That we're moving to a space where we feel free to respond to the three promises that technology now makes us, that we can always be heard, that we can be wherever we want to be, and that we never have to be alone.
And that third promise actually is terribly important because I believe that the capacity for solitude is terribly important to develop. I even believe that if you don't teach your children to be alone, they'll only know how to be lonely. And by not developing this capacity for solitude, we're not doing our children a favor.

“What concerns me as a developmental psychologist is watching children grow in this new world where being bored is something that never has to be tolerated for a moment.”

“Everyone is always having their attention divided between the world of people [they're] with and this ‘other’ reality [on-line relationships].”

I hope you watch the interview or read the transcript.

I think the most shocking concept discussed was that people feel more connected than ever with Facebook, "Likes", YouTube, Twitter and so on, but many of them have never looked up from their computer or mobile device. Many have never left the comfort of their home. They never really operate, feel, smell or taste the real deal--they never have a real face-to-face, real-time conversation with their "Friends" and "Followers".

I'm very guilty of being suffering from separation anxiety when I stray too far from my iPhone or computer. My anxiety level rises as my battery life drains. I'm a slave to the rings, dings and pings of my iPhone--often dropping the task at hand to see what notification has just been received.

Yesterday, a mother and her nine year old daughter came in for a Beginning Knitting lesson with Janet. Both were so excited to learn to knit and Janet was thrilled to teach them. There were no electronic devices, no phone interruptions, no multitasking....just knitting and conversation. As the Mom was checking out, the daughter went out on the porch.... and knit a few more rows.

For a Knitwit, there is no such thing as boredom as long as there's yarn and Ravelry.
Lonely moments are few and far between, unless its Monday and the shop is closed. A phone call or text to a Knitwits can usually remedy the problem.
If there's time to sit...there's time to knit.

Connect with us at Knitwits!

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