Ruining conversation starts like…. On a typical morning with a typical young person just waking up to start their day they reach for their life line, the cell phone. Firing off a few text messages, checking Facebook status, making new up dates, all before getting ready for school. Rolling out of bed, taking a quick shower must have woken up the brain cells. A quick text to mom with their request as what they wish to have for breakfast, and lunch, then picking out some clothes. Before getting to brushing their hair, and teeth. The answer comes back from mom.
” If you wish to talk to me I’m downstairs!” Mom yelled out in response to the text messages.
This is the new conversation in life, as well as the only interaction being played out in most teenagers households today. If it isn’t texts, or 140 characters in a tweet, or a Facebook profile up-date, it’s not a conversation. Teens just have different out looks for what is or is not a conversation. Parents or at least the older generation look at this new way of conversations, as very limited interactions. One line answers, one to two sentences at best in response to a question, happens to also be par for course today.
When parents ask a question. The likely answer will be. ” Didn’t you look at my Facebook page? Or Didn’t you get my text, or tweet? ” Parents who don’t make the effort in checking with these new media forms are therefore left-behind, unrecognized, or made to feel as unimportant old geezers.
Even college students communicate differently then the previous generations and their counter parts, or the next generation that follows them. Collage students recall, they will e-mail professors over the use of a phone call, they reserve their phone calls and some texts for mom and dad’s. Only if mom and dad’s have the necessary skills to text back. If not, then the occasional phone call will do. With employers they still make the call reluctantly, but hold the conversation as brief as possible, or avoided all together if possible. Choosing to e-mail as the official form of communication if the employer also has the capabilities. But with their peers they text. In some cases up to 6000 text a month, or more according to their cell phone plans. Even group texting, happens to be the new conversation of talking to everyone not in the same room. That is where you send out a text to multiple acquaintances all at once. Like.. “We are going to the mall.” Everyone on their list then can go to the mall if they aren’t there already to meet.
It is no wonder that the older you are, the more likely you will pick up on these new facts of modern conversation, and how it has changed. But has it? When the tell-a-phone was first invented the older generation probably said the same thing. Truth is that over the years the conversation did in fact change. Just now days the change is more noticeable do to the speed of the change takeing place.
For the youth of the day one liners as their answers isn’t all that out-of-place. multiple conversations on-line with twitter and Facebook, has more of an appeal as interactions with their friends. Often saying. ” It is just multi tasking with conversations! ” Yet they don’t even recognize that they have practically removed themself’s from society itself.
They are missing out on the facial expressions, body language, even the sound of laughter. All of these kinds of additions to conversation bring emphasis to the words spoken, yet they are fast being replaced with typing “LOL” or some such. Body language is becoming a lost art form, as well as having the ability in understanding it. Impossible to send and receive the messages sent by body language through social media of today, through texts, e-mails, even in some types of phone calls. Body language has then become just as impressive as a blank page. Yes with phone calls you can still hear the other person laugh. But their body language is left out of the picture. So a phone call, was the change though slightly, over the personal conversations of the past before the creation of the phone.
Don’t you think conversation should then be also filled with expressions, more than the some of our words used?
Social awkwardness has led to some types of social mistrust, anxiety, phobias, even stress through the lack of self-confidence within the interactions of people. It seems the younger people tend to have alow themself’s with their conversations at least, to hide out in plain sight so to speak. In other words, not being themself’s in every situation, even avoiding some interactions.
Even college professors have started to have students introduce themself’s in class. In trying to open the doors of conversation and being comfortable in talking with each other. Some students have expressed that they didn’t like it at first. But admit that they spend little time in conversations with each other in person. Texting has taken over their lives. Not surprising then to see a group of college students sitting around a semi-circle texting to who knows who, rather than talking with each other.
The ideas of expanding the use of on-line-classes, will therefore only magnify the social awkwardness. People are social creatures by nature. Social media has allowed an evolution to take place of unnatural interactions, there for people have a tendency for creating in thought unrealistic expectations.
The generational divide has then become the grand cannon between young and older people’s conversations. If you ever had the phone conversation like this…
Parent: ” So what are you doing?”
Young person: ” Nothing.”
Parent: ” So what is new? Or why did you call me, and for… I mean you’re not saying much and you called me, so lets talk.”
Young person: ” Just wanted to talk for a while.”
Yet still remaining quiet for the most part… Too much like a phone call where you have been put on hold. The phone to your ear, but nothing but silence to lessen to.
Of course once the phone call ends, if the parent can also master the art of texting and is willing to do so. These younger persons can then also pick up the phone and text for an hour or better. Yet talking in person over the phone is like pulling dragons teeth! This is also the same with personal conversations when these people come together. In one word conversation is, “limited”.
I suppose the old adage of. ” If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” apples to modern conversations. Of corse most people have things they wish to say to others. It is therefore all in the delivery of it.
Using social media today, younger people look at it as refining their conversations and multi tasking all at the same time. Getting to the point and then moving on as fast as they can, often at the blazing speed of the internet, and their abilities to type faster than their parents. Talking in person some how must seem to them as ultra slow, even a kind of slurring of words in comparison to texting, or e-mailing.
To the older generation yet young at heart, this kind of conversation is a source of frustration, and more of a separation. In stead of closing the generational divide, the cannon is filled with a lot of awkward moments. Closing the divide, only requires a conversation using 140 characters or less or so it seems. Body language however, will become, antiques, romantic gestures of the past, misunderstood, and under used, filling young minds with wonder.
When they’re faced with taking a mandatory college class in the future ” The art of conversation, using body language 101.” I hope they will finely see the light, that a life of being a hermit of sorts isn’t as fun or as exciting. In fact, expressions that people give is far more interesting at times then the words spoken.
I for one intend to use the new house rule of…. No texting under the same roof / or in the same room. If you have a request I’ll need to have at least a 500 word conversation or the answer will be ” Bla, Bla, Bla!” Using all of my 140 characters as the answer you seek but only hear. Unless you wish to have some degree of embarrassment? At that point I will be glad to post to all, and every kind of social media, for all to see, as the newest video pod cast of you throwing your tantrums. Of course your responses to me, will be held to the strictest of rules! Only being excepted if they are under 140 characters in length, using the sounds of your voice. Love your new house rules.
Ps. A hand on my hip, and the scowl on my face. Is body language! Definition of it is… ” Don’t test me! ”
Is social media then ruining conversation?
All the best