The Flight From Conversation

There is no texting on my family phone service. Not only do I want to avoid paying for it, I also want to encourage my children to talk with people, instead of talking at them, as so many of their friends prefer to do. The new methods of communication we use free us up from the annoyance of having to look at, pay attention to, or listen to other people. Sherry Turkle at the New York Times has also noticed this.
A businessman laments that he no longer has colleagues at work. He doesn’t stop by to talk; he doesn’t call. He says that he doesn’t want to interrupt them. He says they’re “too busy on their e-mail.” But then he pauses and corrects himself. “I’m not telling the truth. I’m the one who doesn’t want to be interrupted. I think I should. But I’d rather just do things on my BlackBerry.”

A 16-year-old boy who relies on texting for almost everything says almost wistfully, “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.”

In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Walking through a college library or the campus of a high-tech start-up, one sees the same thing: we are together, but each of us is in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens. A senior partner at a Boston law firm describes a scene in his office. Young associates lay out their suite of technologies: laptops, iPods and multiple phones. And then they put their earphones on. “Big ones. Like pilots. They turn their desks into cockpits.” With the young lawyers in their cockpits, the office is quiet, a quiet that does not ask to be broken.

In the silence of connection, people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people — carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we can use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right.

Many young people see the lack of face-to-face conversation as a benefit to the new communication, but as they mature they may realize that as they dispense with listening, their network connections ("friends") are not listening to them, either. Link -via Breakfast Links

(Image credit: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)

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What rubbish! Have they not noticed people still go out all the time and talk on the phone just as much. Texting and social networking are in addition to all these things, not instead of.
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I'm not saying this is a good thing, but we have to come to grips with the fact that technology is fundamentally changing humanity and there is not much we can do to stop it. Look at how much has changed in just 20 years...imagine life in a thousand. The last two thousand years saw change at a much more manageable pace. Now, we don't have much of a choice but to sit back and "enjoy" the ride.
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Sounds like an article written by an old person who doesn't like today's technology. I bet that article was written on a typewriter and sent to the paper via USPS.
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