It seems that the fear of change combats the ideas of future shock outlined by Toffler. In many ways, people are constantly revolting against forms of technology that they deem unnecessary and counterproductive to society as a hole. Virtual worlds are an example of technology that society is not ready for. Several different applications have come and gone with very little success being shared by any of them. Second Life has enjoyed some of the best times in the business of virtual worlds, although they are starting to see a plateau in membership. A possible explanation for why technology does not catch on is that people act as the gatekeepers for what they deem worthy of being in their lives. Technology does have the power to drive society and create mass movement; however, at any moment society can shift and leave technology in its wake. 3D television is a recent technology that no matter how much it is pushed by the industry, it is being resisted heavily.
Toffler makes the argument that the bombardment of technology, too quickly, will cause hysteria and shock within the mass population. However, the idea that people cannot control their lives is an interesting one. The examples above act as supporting evidence that they can determine what technology controls their lives. Tablet PC’s are currently experiencing backlash from society. The technology itself developed quickly, and there was buzz generated about their debut, but once released several of the models are seeing a failure in sales and performance. The Kindle Fire has been one that is experiencing backlash with some users actually returning them to the store. It may be that for Toffler’s argument to have weight on this point then the technology that is flooding society must be of high quality and in abundance.
At the current moment in time, we seem to have control of the media that defines us. Toffler in his time was merely speculating about the culture and with many of the points in the book he may have a valid argument. However, society has proven that it can defend itself when necessary against technology or otherwise.
Desmet, K., & Parente, S.L. (2011). Resistance to technology adoption: The rise and decline of guilds. Accessed December 6, 2011. http://www.eco.uc3m.es/~desmet/papers/Resistance.pdf
Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock. New York,NY: Bantam Books.
Wortham, J. (2011). Shunning Facebook, and living to tell about it. New York Times. Accessed Decemeber 13, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/technology/shunning-facebook-and-living-to-tell-about-it.html?partner=rss&emc=rss