[T]he morality that media and communications technologies enable is easily, and often, presumed to be a function of their capacity to connect. That is what they do. They bring us together. And that connection is sufficient, it is said, for us to relate to each other as human, moral, beings. It is transcendent. It is all we need. It offers us unimaginable possibilities for controlling our lives. And, arguably too, possibilities for our own personal fulfilment. But I am arguing that we need to go beyond connection, if we are to pursue a grounded ethics. The motivated irony in Levinas’s position, and also in my own, is that it is precisely in the failure completely to connect, and in the acknowledgement of the inevitability of that failure, that technologically mediated communication might enable us ethically. This too is a question of determining proper distance.

Silverstone, R. (2003). ‘Proper distance: towards an ethics for cyberspace’, in G. Liestol, A. Morrison, and R. Terje (eds) Digital Media Revisited, pp. 469-491. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

Also available at: http://www.infoamerica.org/documentos_pdf/silverstone05.pdf. Retrieved on 17 January, 2013.