Missed Connections: Intimacy & Isolation in the Digital Age

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 6:00pm

A couple sits down for dinner at a trendy restaurant. He posts a picture of the appetizer on Instagram while she tweets out a witty review of this weekend’s blockbuster they just viewed. Next to them a “blind date” set up through eHarmony is off to a great start. He knew from her profile that she loves authentic Italian. Meanwhile, in the bar, a group of wine enthusiasts listen to the sommelier describe a Californian pinot at a tasting arranged by an organizer at Meetup.com.

In Boeing Boeing the development of a faster plane makes it more difficult for an international playboy to balance his multiple romantic relationships. His struggle to adapt creates the comedy. Yet, the truth of his circumstances is truer now than it ever was, and may be no laughing matter. As technological advances reshape the social landscape, in what ways have our most important relationships benefited? To what extent has digital technology created more opportunities for connection? And where are we being fooled? What digitals tools, in service of broadening our networks, are subtly robbing them of their depth? Come join us for a conversation on technology and relationships, and decide for yourself if we are the subjects of a 21st century farce.

As always, our Forum will be moderated by our gracious supporter and active community volunteer, Jonathan Parker. Our team of panelists include the following:

Dr. Melinda R. Weathers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University. Her scholarly interests include intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, gender and women’s health issues, and new communication technologies. Dr. Weathers’ research has encompassed a range of topics addressing issues related to intercultural and interpersonal messages within relational, institutional, societal, and health contexts. Specifically, she has explored communication-related issues between doctors and patients, Hispanic caregivers and older adults, and in heterosexual dating relationships. Ultimately, her research seeks to better understand how effective communication relates to the wellbeing of persons and society. She has published in journals such as Howard Journal of Communications, Communication Studies, Patient Education and Counseling, and Communication Education. Her research has been recognized through top paper awards from the National Communication Association and Central States Communication Association. Dr. Weathers received her PhD in Communication from George Mason University, a master’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Houston, and a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University.

Jason D. Johnson is the Director of Marketing for The Warehouse Theatre and a Member of Actors’ Equity Association. Before joining The Warehouse, he was the Vice President of Creative Services for Maxwell Group, Inc. based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In both positions, Jason was/is responsible for the communication and messaging generated via all social media channels for those organizations. He is also the primary social media consultant for Yonder, a technology start-up based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2008, he has been actively engaged in the evolutionary study of social media and the way it affects behaviors, purchasing, and communication between consumers, families, and relationships. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and Theatre from Troy State University.