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  • Writer's pictureLet's Check-In

Can We Talk? - The Lost Art of Conversation

Got a minute? No, seriously…I need a few minutes to talk with you. C’mon, put down your phone.

Wait -- on further thought, don’t put down your phone. You are more than likely reading this Let’s Check-In blog post on your phone. That is the blessing and the bane of integrated technology in a nutshell. We can connect with people all around the world in an instant, yet we often have trouble engaging in a conversation with the person right next to us. For example:

  • Family goes out to a restaurant, orders their food, then everyone whips out a phone. Mom is checking work emails, Dad is on Facebook, and the kids are on Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat;

  • Your workplace has a strict no smartphone policy in place, yet the CEO is constantly checking emails during meetings;

  • You see folks walking, driving, and riding bikes, all while looking at their glowing little screens. This annoys the heck out of you, so you take a picture of them and Tweet it out.

We are privileged to live in an age of technological wizardry. We are also experiencing a remarkably oxymoronic moment in time that can be described as interconnected disconnectedness.

“Your phone has become a symbol of all of the ‘elsewheres’ you could be.”

Sherry Turkle, Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self Program in Science, Technology, and Society

All it takes is quick a mouse-click or just touching that little glass screen and you can transport yourself (virtually) to another place and time. How wonderfully convenient! The scientific explanation for why this temptation is so powerful is related to our craving for new experiences that trigger our bodies to produce dopamine which controls our pleasure centers. Unlike conversations with actual people sitting across from us, we control our interactions. But, what is it that we are losing? It is clear that our ability to chat with one another is diminishing and our basic human interactions are becoming all the more rare. Turkle addresses this complex subject in Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age. During this interview on WNYC radio, she discusses how our behaviors have changed and how we can reengage with one another in a meaningful way. For the closing call itself at the end of the segment, this clip is worth the investment of your time. However, before you go… Let’s Check-In was founded in order to leverage these amazing technologies in the service of people, folks who find themselves in need of greater connections with others. There are real people answering your calls and responding to your texts. We believe that it is critical for all of us to communicate about our activities, our feelings, and just the basic stuff that makes life meaningful in the living. So, consider Let’s Check-In for yourself as well as for your friends and family.

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