Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Time for a little more conversation – a little less textingJune 13, 2012 - 11:02am
No less an organ than the New York Times recently lamented the death of conversation in the world we live in – primarily because technology has decreed that any point you have to make into the future should be achievable in 140 characters or less.
Easy access to wi-fi and the internet has eliminated the need for people to actually talk to each other – you go out to lunch now with a group of six people and at any given time at least two of them are receiving or sending texts on their mobile phones.
A little less conversation, a little more texting, as Elvis might have put it if he hadn’t left the building – and in many ways he would be relieved not to be around today when every phone owner is a paparazzo in disguise, waiting to catch the King eating a burger.
You go to a press conference these days and half the press don’t appear to be listening; they’re either keying in the press release into their laptop or they’re tweeting the contents of the special guest’s speech to the world before the person has time to draw breath after completing a single sentence.
In some cases, this can be a good thing; if a Minister, for example, makes a false claim during the course of a speech, he or she will be nailed with the correct facts before they can even leave the podium.
And yet, when did news demand such immediacy that it can’t wait until the speech or the announcement is actually over?
Surely if you’re transcribing as you’re hearing, you’re not really listening – you’ve become a stenographer as opposed to a journalist.
In real life, technology can be a useful tool for those who want to avoid conversation of course – if we’re honest, we’ve all whipped out the iPod and stuck in the earphones on a train to stop the eager individual next to us from striking the first blow in a boring conversation.
Sometimes you just stick the earphones in without turning on the music, just so you can get a bit of peace and quiet.
And there are other times when you wish you had access to some form of technology – like in the barber’s when you’re asked where you’re off to on holidays by someone who actually couldn’t care less.
Imagine if you could pre-programme your hand-held device to just say ‘Spain, August, two weeks, all-in’ and allow the barber get on with the haircut while you enjoy the solitude.
The other anomaly caused by all of this technology is that it might lead you to believe you have more friends than any man could possibly have or hope to have in real life.
For example, if Facebook is to be believed – and that’s a topic for another day – I have 186 friends. Not an astonishing amount by Facebook standards, but probably 180 more than I’d lay claim to in real life.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.