Hello! I agree with you in many aspects, but to this “ But the most important difference is what happens after the newspaper was done: people talked to each other about what they’d just read. They could engage in a civic discourse about the news of the day, because they were all reading the same basic material” I cannot agree. If you ever took a train somewhere, you may have seen a big group of teenagers, each one on their phones, not talking to each other. But, as soon as they see a funny joke, a “meme”, an interesting fact, they WILL share this information, as relationships are STILL not constructed by random. We do still have to invest ourselves. And, at the same time that some of them will not do this interation, some of the people with newspapers will also not.
I think it is also valid to mention that phones are used for more than just entertainment. Whilst newspapers are an one-way media, phones are not. You can use your phone to work, to talk to people and to study. It is not because I’m using my phone that I’m not interacting. This relates to how much a relationship matters in comparision to another. I’ll not start small-talk with a random stranger if my mom, who lives in a different country than I do, is planning a trip to see me! We are able to prioritize our relationships more than ever. I’m only mentioning this related to small talk, as I totally agree that using a phone while talking to another person is rude. But the truth is: it is not the technology’s fault, it’s the person’s. (Gosh, my English is not well, my apologies). If I am interested in a person, I’ll automatically pay attention to them. If I’m not interested, I pull out a cellphone, a book, a newspaper, pepper spray, a damn rabbit out of a hat, anything, just so I can have a moment of relief from this bad interaction.
This article is very well-written, and it sure exposed me to new concepts. Nothing like seeing the counter-part of your opinion to bring you more to the middle path of an opinion. Thanks for this experience and sorry for my English. It is not my first language, so I sometimes struggle.