Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't Talk to Me; I'm Busy Communicating

“You mean I have to talk to them face-to-face?”

Such was the lament of a college student who recently discovered there is more to getting a job than sending out resumes through and waiting for offers to roll in.  This young man was aghast that he had to go to an office and submit to an interview – in person.  Yikes.

The hot thing right now is social networking. Like all technological advances, it has its good and not-so-good points.  The good is found in expanded business opportunities, renewed acquaintanceships, more contact with family members, and the ability to share our lives with others, often people who are separated from us by many miles.  Among the not-so-good points are the inability to read body language or facial expressions and hear vocal inflection. Social skills suffer as people no longer know how to dress appropriately or behave while dining. Those consumed by social networking may be unable to establish priorities and might even endanger themselves and others.  There have been plenty of stories about all these issues.

As I drove home the other day, I observed a mother and her two children out for a walk.  It was a beautiful afternoon with temps in the mid-70’s and hardly a cloud in the sky. What struck me was that all three were holding cell phones, their thumbs flying across the keys.  This mother and her children had no relationship to one another other than their physical proximity. 

This reminds me of the commercials currently running for the Toyota Venza.  (See one of them here:  Obviously I am not the only person to notice the strange trend in which mechanized contact is preferable to any other form.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love technology. However, I am concerned with the loss of so many necessary skills.  Parents teach children.  If parents aren’t teaching their children, their children cannot teach their children.  Everyone will know how to use a keyboard but will they remember how to speak?  Seem a little farfetched?  Maybe, maybe not.

One thing’s for sure – it will be difficult to solve our problems if we are so busy communicating that we forget to how to have a conversation.

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