02 September 2010

The Art of Conversation vs. Quick & Easy Communication

Whatever happened to a good ole chat to your bestfriend over the phone, or having a chat to a friend over coffee and cake (can't chat unless you are eating cake!) or sending each other a handwritten letter.

In today's society I think we have lost the art of conversation to things like; mobile phones where you can easily send a text message, networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace; E-mail, Instant messaging, blogs, Skype video chats etc.

I sometimes wonder what it will be like when my daughter, now 19 months, is in her 30's and wants to catch-up with one of her friends..hmm will they call each other on the phone or will there be some other kind of communication device, that hasn't even been thought of yet, that they will use?

Instead of calling someone on the phone, we tend to send a text, tweet, poke, buzz, post a message on a wall, email, Skype, or instant message.

Whatever happened to good ole "snail mail" letters...I love receiving letters in the mailbox. I think there's something special about receiving a handwritten letter. It's like someone thinks enough of you, to have taken the time to have written you a letter...and sometimes on nice paper too ;-)

To this day, I still write letters to my 'penfriend' in England who I've been friends with for twenty-something years. Albeit, the letters are not nearly as frequent, since we both have children and little time to sit down and write a long letter. As we still like receiving letters in the mailbox we try and send them now and then. Mostly we email each other or send a message or "chat" to each other on Facebook.

What about ringing someone on the phone? Whenever I see my phone bill, I am surprised at how much it is. I don't think I am on the phone that much during the day. If so, I feel as though I ring the same people over and over again, which I am told is a "local" call, so shouldn't cost me anything, so if that's the case why is my bill so much? Hmm...makes you think.

Nowadays we have faster ways of communicating with each other, which is where texting, emailing, poking, posting, etc comes in, but what has that done with the way we communicate with each other?

Are you a talker or a communicator

Do you find that you have conversations that seem....I don't know.. abbreviated.....as if the person you are speaking to thinks that they are talking to you via a text message, and have left a whole lot of words out?

Or there's the people who only like to hear their own voices, and don't take the time to listen to what you have to say, or who can't be bothered to ask you anything. So you find yourself the one asking all the questions, and when you go home realise that you didn't really have a conversation as such.

There's also the one word conversation.....for example.

"Hi Helen*, how are you?"

hmm...what sort of conversation was that?

Now let's take a look at what a face-to-face conversation might sound like.

(Disclaimer: Note; this conversation is of my own thinking and should not be confused with anyone else's conversation.)

"Hi Jill*, How's it going? How was your weekend?" 
"Hi Jane*, Yeah good, thanks. We had a lovely weekend, Bob* and I took Little Johnny* on a picnic on Saturday, then Sunday we went to see my parents for afternoon tea. How have you been? Did you guys get up to anything?" 
"Not great, I've had a cold this past week, so we had a very quiet weekend. We just watched some DVDs, played WII and ordered a pizza." 
"Oh no, that's no good. Are you feeling better now?"

(*The names mentioned in the above conversations are purely fictional and should not be confused with anyone else who may be named, Jill, Jane, Bob, Little Johnny or Helen, anyone with these names or who has had the exact same conversation is purely coincidental.)

I am a fan of Facebook, however lately I find that I spend more time on there playing games then talking to people, but it's great that it lets you catch-up with people you haven't seen in years or who are overseas, and its also free.

Another freebie is Skype, I've just downloaded the software so I can video chat with people...hmm...don't know who, but I've got it, just in case!

Text messages sometimes annoy me, as I find it takes forever to write the message, it would have been quicker for me to have just called the person to see how they are or tell them what I wanted to say. I also can't stand it when people you are catching up with answer a text they've just received....meaning, they should be having a conversation with you, but instead are conversing with someone else! If it was important, surely the person who sent the text would have called? I think its rude myself, it gives you the feeling that they don't really want to be with you and would rather be talking to the person who text them.

What about you? Are you finding it harder these days to have a real face-to-face conversation rather than sending someone a text, email or leaving a voice message? What do you do?

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