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Will conversation become a lost art?

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 10:37 am
I listened to this interesting talk today



I'm not a gadget person and I rarely even talk on the phone but I have real life conversations with people all the time so I didn't think she was talking about me.

But then I realized that a lot of my "conversations" happen here, on A2K, so maybe she IS talking about me after all.

I notice a lot of what she talks about when Mo's friends are visiting. We'll sit down to dinner and they'll pull out their phone. When I ask them to put it away they'll look at me like I'm crazy.

So far we've managed to keep Mo offline, other than when he's playing video games. There they actually converse in spoken language and usually it isn't even about the game they're playing -- it's more like a party line, or something. But he does find being "alone" nearly insufferable.

So, what do you think? Will conversation become a lost art? Has it already?


(Just in case sozobe drops in -- subtitles available here: http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html)
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 10:52 am
@boomerang,
A few months ago, I went to visit a client with my manager and three of our other network guys.

We ended up going to lunch with the client, and when we sit down to eat, two of our guys pull out their phones and start texting, while we're all eating together! For most of the meal!
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 11:02 am
@DrewDad,
It's strange, isn't it?

It makes me feel really old. Not in that I don't use the technology but in that I expect conversation with a meal.

The first time I noticed how big a deal this is was when we were in San Antonio a few years ago. We were having lunch in this cool restaurant on the river walk when a family was seated next to us. Every one of them, mom and dad included, pulled out their phones and started texting. They didn't talk to each other through the entire meal. They didn't people watch. They didn't engage in their surroundings at all.

Since then it's become very common to see such things.
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 12:23 pm
@DrewDad,
I don't understand this texting trend. What's the attraction?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 12:25 pm
@Reyn,
You are asking the wrong person. I've never sent or received a text.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 01:04 pm
@Reyn,
I don't know, Reyn. If my dumb little phone will do it, I clearly don't know how. Still, I've had a lot of dealings with three different people in another city, and it is almost impossible to catch them in the office, while they're not in meetings. I finally decided it was better to send an email than drop a voice mail and be nailed down to my landline in hopes my call will be returned, or even received sometime the same day. At least they are professionals and really do keep up with email. This only works when I'm at home, of course. If I'm away, I count on good friends like Diane and ossobuco to open their computers to me.

Anyway, texting sounds kind of equavalant to email, except it follows people around.

The times are changing, Reyn. We can't push back the tide, and we can't stop it. Maybe you can remember people in your youth that thought telephones were a passing fad. I do.
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 01:15 pm
@Reyn,
I text sometimes if there is no need to be interactive. A short question, or information like "I'm heading home."

But I don't really understand the attraction of having whole conversations via text.

Edit: This is exacerbated by the fact that I'm dreadfully slow typing on those little screens. Some people can pound out the text with two thumbs, but my fingers are too fat.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 03:00 pm
@DrewDad,
Ditto here. Texting is also rather useful when I need to send/receive quick info on the go but I'm in a place that's loud or I'm talking about something private and don't want the world to know.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 06:29 pm
@DrewDad,
I have a pre-paid phone and use text messages when I have something short to tell someone. It costs a lot less for the half-minute transmission time for the text message than it does for the 5 minutes of air time a voice conversation costs.

I also used text messaging when I needed to communicate with a neighbor who used to work nights because I never knew when she was sleeping and didn't want a phone call to wake her up unnecessarily.


As for conversations, some of my most interesting and intense conversations have been all nighter IM sessions with internet friends back in the very early days of AOL. They were like exploratory interview sessions. We eventually met up and spent several days with each other, but the conversation just wasn't the same.

I am a lot more verbose and forthcoming in writing than I am verbally.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 06:57 pm
@boomerang,
It’s funny you bring this up. A couple days ago I was getting my hair cut and I noticed 8 people sitting in the lobby waiting for their appointment, nobody was talking, everyone of them had a phone and were sitting their texting, I sat there getting my hair did and watched, it was quite comical.
tsarstepan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 07:18 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Will conversation become a lost art?

(((grunt))) (((shrugs shoulders))) (((mumble mumble)))
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 07:57 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

It's strange, isn't it?



I don't think it's as much strange as rude.

Last week I was talking (really, talking) to this woman who's some mucky muck at the Camp Fire USA organization (remember camp fire girls?)
She was saying the average kid spends 7 minutes outside nowadays, and I forget how many hours in front of a screen of some sort.

Later I thought what are they going to tell their grandkids when they ask "what did you do when you were my age grandpa?"

"oh, I didn't do anything really, I sat staring at a cell phone all day, tapping out stupid messages, and never looking up."
roger
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 08:15 pm
@chai2,
What makes you think their grandkids will have enough attention span to ask - if they even care?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 08:28 pm
@roger,
I'ma waiting to have you check it out and teach me how to text..

I've no excuse. Sozobe told me how to do it by using my computer - pinger.com, I think. (Or maybe that's a photo site.) I'll see if I can find that thread - it was clearly useful.

I've always been a tad recalcitrant re machines and enjoyed them once I caught on. (Did I tell you about the dead mouse in the spectrophotometer?)

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 08:29 pm
@DrewDad,
Snort.

Fat fingers, fat fingers!!!!!!!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 08:30 pm
@jcboy,
There's a painting there.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2012 07:14 am
@ossobuco,
It was this one I think (started out about iPods, became about texting):

http://able2know.org/topic/184261-1

Thanks for including a link to a captioned version, boomer! Been a zoomy week, hope to get to it soon though.

Without having seen it, I doubt that conversation will become a lost art. People have too much of a primal need for connection -- we're very social creatures. I think that smart phones have a negative impact on waiting sorts of situations -- lines, waiting rooms, etc. But not to the extent that real, in-person conversation will actually disappear. There are still many non-waiting sorts of situations where people converse. (School, work, parties, dates, family dinners, etc., etc.)

Also the two (text-based communication, in-person communication) have often connected for me. I'll see something on Facebook, and then when I see that person face-to-face I'll use that as a conversation starter. I regularly text a good friend in another state, who just came for a short visit and we talked for about six hours straight as comfortably as if we'd last seen each other the day before (it had actually been about six months).
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2012 08:58 am
The people who are texting ARE conversing, they just aren't talking with the people they happen to be with. No one, other than those involved in the texting, can tell whether the conversation is mundane or is exploring the deepest reaches of theoretical physics.
My kid, who for many years acted as producer/drummer for a band, has the ability to text and converse. I've listened to him as he finished telling me a joke while he typed something to someone else about where he would be in an hour.
~~
Google is coming out with TAP, only two keys to text a message. Just two. Advanced users can have a screen that can handle (are you ready?) up to eight conversations at once.

Two keys? Yup. All of my ex-Navy friends and ham operators friends (that's two people) are ecstatic! The return of Morse Code!!
I had to crush them.

.--- --- . (April Fool) -. .- - .. --- -.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2012 09:52 am
Has anyone watched the video?

I apologize, I think I chose a bad title because conversation is only a small part of what she's discussing -- and I think her topic is important.

She's talks about the self-sanitizing that takes place with online communication, that we have connections but not conversations, that kids are losing the ability of self reflection, and that all of these things have a strong psychological pull.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2012 09:59 am
@boomerang,
Self sanitizing, eh? Maybe I'm misinterpreting the phrase, but it sounds right to me. When word processing or writing on line, I have lots of time to consider the likely effect my words might have. I wonder if we might lose the ability to think on our feet, and judge body language.
 

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