This quote got me thinking: “The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”-Joseph Priestley (from ThinkExist)
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. All of these sites help us communicate with one another. Better, faster, more, convenient? I am not so sure.
Better. Better, than what? It is monetarily cheaper than a phone call, a hand-written letter or a coffee date but what about other costs? Truly connecting with someone, hearing their voice over the phone lines and the background noise of their life. Knowing someone took the time to write you a letter, finding out they have a unique way of spelling something or seeing the personality of their handwriting. Seeing their facial expressions when speaking or the way their hands move when they are explaining something. Those little special things and moments are priceless.
Faster, sure. Instant gratification. It seems we feel need for things to move quickly lest we forget. A quick post/tweet and instantly your “friends” know what you had for lunch, what you can’t wait for and something funny you overheard. Does that mean they understand you better?
What about good things come to those who wait? Remember the definition of communication-a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. Processes take TIME. The anticipation of waiting for the person you are calling to pick up. The excitement of going to the mailbox and opening up something other than a bill. Enjoying your friend’s company, seeing their face, tasting & smelling the environment around you. All of your senses involved, mind engaged and heart lightening.
More. Posting is such a fast and easy thing to do, fits easily in one’s day and at any time (except while driving!). Since we can do it so easily, we can do it often. Lots of conversations happening all at once and I can be involved in any and all that I choose. What fun! However, just because there is a lot of something does not make it a good thing. Less IS more. Speaking with intelligence and insight takes thought and time. Sending quality information into the world seems to be what people need, not more pointless chatter. I choose quality over quantity.
Convenience. These sites certainly allow for that, I can post and reply when and if I want. I can join in the conversation or not. I can do what I want, whenever I want. Seems a bit self-centered. Sure, someone might call while you are up to your armpits in pet hair and soap but imagine the delight when you answer the phone breathless, and bring a smile to the caller’s face when you recout your pet’s seeming phobia of being clean. Laughter isn’t the same when it’s in black and white.
I am not suggesting no one use these sites. I have a Twitter and a Facebook account and check them about once a week. I just want to impress upon you the importance of quality communication-the kind that takes time, involves all the senses, is a bit inconvenient and totally worth it! Besides, I will remember my friend’s voice, their handwriting, their favorite coffee long after they are gone. I can’t say the same for their tweets-although the web will always have them!
What do you think?