The virtual world shouldn’t be seen as the antithesis of reality. It is therefore important to take ownership of digital tools and use them purposefully.
In 2012, the US psychologist Sherry Turkle drew an alarming picture of the Millenials. Their “relentless connection [has led to] a new solitude”. Overwhelmed by technology, the digital natives are unable to experience direct human connection within the real world. “We turn to new technology to fill the void, but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down” – Sherry Turkle, Alone Together.
This observation overlooks the creative, emotional and social outcomes which are enabled by this very same technology. Every day on the Internet we build, play, chat, learn, meet and love.
Online Together is a collaborative artwork which aims to highlight this more positive view of the Internet. It invites users to participate and in doing so diverts their devices away from their usual uses. From any location, anyone who visits the URL www.online-together.net on a mobile device can interact and contribute.
By connection to the website, the visitor is reminded that they are not alone online, by seeing the interactions of those who they are currently online together with, and traces left by those who have visited previously. Most of the websites we visit don’t reflect (or almost not – eg. Facebook’s green circle • ‘Online now’ status) the synchronicity of our browsing, despite the fact we are rarely alone online. More often than not we are online, together.