Heads down, fingers tapping on a tiny screen, earbuds in – that’s the look that will dominate the sidewalks when it’s not quite so cold.
Most people see this as a bad thing. That’s ridiculous.
Interpersonal, face-to- face conversation is important, but it cannot be truly replicated by any app. Even FaceTime has its limits. You can’t get the same sense of body language or the general vibe an in-person conversation can give.
That’s okay though. Technology-driven conversation is not ringing the death knell of communities or happenstance. It’s simply shifting a large amount of conversation to another, less concrete realm.
With so many new forms of communication entering the market, “real” talking will naturally face a steep dip in its percentage of overall conversation. That’s basic logic – there’s all that competition for conversation.
We can communicate and express ourselves in ways we never have before, and that’s fantastic. Have you ever tried vocalizing a keysmash? It’s not possible, and that’s one thing – one silly thing, but still a thing – that we’ve gained from new technology. It’s not all good (English teachers can vouch for that) but it’s bringing about new modes of expression that even the most introverted can use.
Speaking of the introverted, not everyone is good at in-person conversation. It’s important to try to improve any weaknesses we may have in these areas, but these ever-evolving modes of communication that help us communicate in other ways should be embraced.
Some of us are shy for one reason or another and might be better at communicating in other forms. Others are better with “written” word than with spoken. Many need a little personal bubble–a little space–to help them communicate more comfortably.
It’s no cure to cancer, but it’s a technological advancement that makes better the lives of those who are not built the same way “normal” or “average” people are.
I haven’t even mentioned what this has done for long-distance relationships, romantic and otherwise. Grandparents can see their grandchildren from across the country every day. People on business trips can keep in touch with the family back home from anywhere. We can make friends in other countries who can expand our cultural knowledge in ways our fellow Americans around us never could.
Those are the easy ones, though. I’m mounting a defense for the kids sitting in the corner, completely plugged into their phone. Keep calm and text on.