Four people watched an online talk by Sherry Turkle about how technology is changing the way we communicate and gave us their opinions.

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Are we losing the art of conversation?

We asked four people who watched an online talk on technology and communication by Sherry Turkle for their opinions.

A

The talk certainly gave me plenty of food for thought about the way we communicate these days and how technology is changing our behaviour. People are constantly multitasking, whether it be emailing during meetings or texting in the checkout queue. I really believe it’s affecting the way we relate to each other and it’s not just in the workplace. Kids fade into the background as parents message at the dinner table or post on social networks during the school run. It’s as if we can’t bear to miss out on what our online buddies are up to, so we juggle the real and online world. My greatest concern is that we don’t give our brains a chance to switch off. It’s these precious moments when we actually process information that helps us make important decisions.

B

It was a fascinating talk and the speaker really hit the nail on the head with a couple of things. Take parental influence, for instance. How can we expect teenagers not to text while doing their homework when they witness their parents posting on social media while cooking the evening meal or waiting at a red light? She also made a valid point about people wanting to be in two or several places at once. So they switch back and forth between their real-life and online conversations. I see it all the time with my teenage daughter and her friends. They arrange to meet and then sit together in silence while each one engages in a different conversation online.

C

So much of what the speaker said rang true. I honestly believe there’s a danger that the more connected we are, the more isolated we feel. I don’t think this is such an issue for my generation who’ve lived without technology for so long. We know how to be alone and, more importantly, we know that it’s OK to be alone. But the under 20s are another kettle of fish. They’re so busy communicating that they never experience the feeling of solitude and run the risk of not learning how to enjoy their own company. In addition, they’re learning conversation through messages that can be edited and changed at the expense of learning the art of real conversation in real time with the person in front of you.

D

I’m not sure to what extent I agree that people are more alone, but the way we communicate has certainly evolved. We send tiny snippets of conversation or emoticons to each other and I wonder how much this actually allows us to really understand one another. This superficial conversation is replacing in-depth face-to-face interaction with its pauses, intonation and sentiment. The speaker makes a good point about how we’re getting used to conversing with machines like Siri or robots, which are totally devoid of any experience of human life. But despite such limitations, we seem to be expecting more from technology and less from each other.

 

Total votes: 176
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Discussion

Which changes in the way we communicate with technology do you think are the most important? Why? Do you prefer to communicate face-to-face or online? Why?

Comments

Jeff0205's picture
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Jeff0205 21 November, 2018 - 13:38

Well, I have to say this a very interesting topic because it talks about something (Communication) that concerns people in a very important aspect. It is true that Technology and its social medias have extremely changed our way to communicate, but in my opinion, this fact has its good things and its bad things at the same time, why? Let me be more clear, the fact that social medias have given us (and still do) a lot of entertainment is undeniable, this is because being able to speak with other people through text messages while being away from them creates a sensation of unconscious comfort and pleasure. You can comfortably be at home on your bed having a lot of fun with a buddy of yours gossiping, sending photographs to one another, playing games in the chat tab, and now you can even participate on a video chat with your friends. As I said, this has its good things and its bad things, now let’s talk about the bad thing of all this… Yes, you can have a lot of fun with social medias, as I said before, it’s something that’s undeniable, but, in spite of this, there’s something that’s extremely wrong with social medias, and it’s the fact that in many cases we become isolated and we forget what speaking in front of somebody else feels like, and this situation is getting even worse! Nowadays you even see groups of friends hanging out in the streets but using their smart phones all the time, not having fun and laughing out loud as it used to be before. In conclusion, nowadays smart phones and social medias have become a “Healthy Poison”.

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0 users have voted.
al765's picture
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al765 3 January, 2018 - 13:47

I think that with technology we have become more closed up into our little bubbles. Technology was initially a way to maintain contact with people we care about. Instead of losing their company when they move away or have to go somewhere else we could still stay connected online. But this has led to us sticking to the same few people the whole time. In the doctor's waiting room,for instance,we don't try to make talk with the person sitting next to us, no we get online to send an emoji to some old friend from last summer. Though there's wrong with that, we do need to pay attention to our immediate surroundings and the people who are in the present moment with us.
And even when we make new friends through the internet we tend to seek out those who have the same interests as us. This is ofcourse natural for us to do, but in real life we are forced to adjust more and listen more. It is through this adjustment and listening which characterise real life conversation that exchange of ideas happen.

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8 users have voted.
10jcaste's picture
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10jcaste 17 November, 2017 - 20:37

Well, in my opinion, technology is changing the ways we communicate, but in a bad sense. I mean, the possibility of communicating with anyone in just a moment is wonderful. Nevertheless, it's true that many people sit with their mobile phones and don't talk to the people around them. For instance, when I go out on Saturdays, most of my friends are waiting for dinner while they are playing silly games or talking to somebody. Can't you share your issues with us? I can't stand those situations.
That's why I'd rather talk to someone face-to-face than chat on my mobile phone, because you can emphasise an opinion or idea. However, I like typing a quick message if it's necessary, because of promptness and ease.

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21 users have voted.
MARIAJL's picture
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MARIAJL 13 November, 2017 - 11:54

From my point of view, I think that the 80s,90s generations are who have suffered the great impact of technology in their lives. We have seen along the history changes which have allowed us to communicate with more facility. Personally, I think the most important one was the introduction of social media. Thank of this, we can communicate with people around the world. Furthermore, this can be also used to promote all types of enterprises. However, the main problem is that people sometimes is hidden behind their computers, phones to keep a conversation which you maybe don’t dare to do it face-to-face. I clearly prefer to have a face-to-face conversation because you can know if people are lying to you only gathering them. Moreover, we can sometimes misunderstand what other people are telling us due to the fact that we don’t know in which way they are saying.

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16 users have voted.
Mariabdr's picture
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Mariabdr 3 November, 2017 - 11:07

Nowadays, the comunicación online is really important in our life but would we be losing the magic of the face to face conversations? My answer is depend on people, for example when I've met with my buddies, we tried to switch off social media.
I think it's necessary to maintain a normal conversation.
Although, If you use the communication online correctly, It can provide you a lot of advantages.
For finally, If I were you, I would enjoy of all the benefits that technology can give us but with awareness.

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20 users have voted.
dadelos's picture
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dadelos 30 October, 2017 - 10:34

I think that new technological innovation gives us a serie of advantages and improvements in our lives. but the problem is when technology takes over our lives and makes us spend more time than necessary on it. i consider very useful the whatsapp, for instant. Because thanks to it we can be communicate at the moment with someone who is far from us and with the simple fact of typing on a screen of the mobile phone.
the problem of this is when we already are with that person and we continue using the mobile phone, without having a face-to-face conversation with her/him.
There are many occasions in which you can see couples or groups of friends gathered in a restaurant or in a coffe without talking, just keeping a relationship with their phones. That is the really sad aspect about this.

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20 users have voted.
SomeWeirdTrashcan's picture
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SomeWeirdTrashcan 9 October, 2017 - 10:07

The Trashcan says that everyone is allowed to communicate with aliens such as the pinabiba aliens, the art of communication is that aliens do not want to communicate with us because of our weird acting to other species we are not allowed to talk to other species other than human because we are not completely ruined. I Trashcan the Trashbin of Garbageland does not allow humans to communicate with aliens because it is not healthy for humanity since i am not a human i can not rethink this so i am very pleased to say that we all failed the humanity of earthville. You have found something that is not allowed and its inhuman technology has changed it has changed us all. We now know aliens exist and they will take over the world HAHA they say listen to this famous trashcan the trashbin of garbageland. We will take the world back from these annoying aliens now lets settle down and i will end this story. -Trashcan the Trashbin of Garbageland out

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21 users have voted.
ambitioushouda's picture
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ambitioushouda 3 September, 2017 - 07:58

The way that we communicate today is very risky because it'll affect on our social life and our future. we'll lose relationships with family and friends in the real life , we'll be afraid of society, we won't make new friends and the vitally important thing that we will feel alone.So i demand to all the teenagers like me give importance to the real life we're living.May be tomorrow you won't find your family or your friends beside you ,you'll regret that you didn't talk to them and you didn't share memories with them . So,please try to understand their feelings and spend more time with them and get away from social media of course.

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22 users have voted.
mjruizam's picture
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mjruizam 14 July, 2017 - 17:11

In my opinion, the art of conversation is changing. many years ago nobody can to talk with people who are in other country because it was impossible. If you wanted to talk with your friends, you have to do it face to face. But nowadays, there are different ways to talk with your friends and you can do ii all the time. For these reason, I think that we aren't the arts of conversation, it only has changed.

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35 users have voted.
FRANGOGA's picture
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FRANGOGA 10 July, 2017 - 16:00

It's clear that technology has improved the way we communicate. I don't think we are losing the art of conversation, but we are enhancing it. From my point of view, we live at times where you must to be good at talking face-to-face but also at communicating via social media. The virtue would be in finding the mean point; I mean, neither make the void to new communicative ways nor spend all your day texting with your phone.

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32 users have voted.
coldriver's picture
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coldriver 9 July, 2017 - 11:08

I think that technology is good for different aspects in our life. For example, when your brother or another person live abroad, you can speak with him like if he lived here. Also, we can search a lot of information on internet for our real life. However, I agree with D because the face-to-face is losing. Teenagers don´t know communicate with face-to-face, they only speak with their friends through to mobile phone. As say B, I usually see teenagers sitting at a table, but they only watch their mobile phone!! And not talk to each other. I believe that technology is good, but we must know how to use it.

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30 users have voted.
pizzalover's picture
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pizzalover 8 July, 2017 - 16:05

As I see it, we will wrangle about this over and over again. Technology is a growing topic of discussion in our lifes and there is a lot of different points of view. I think we should adapt to technology because it means future. I understand what letter C are saying, but internet is not that bad. Thanks to it, our generation have a lot of information at our fingertips. In my humble opinion, when we talk about communication, I think internet have a good side again because it allows us be in touch with people who are far away. Of course, someone will make a bad use of internet. I comprehend the example of letter B with fathers and daughters but it will be the same all the time because "The apple doesn't fall from the tree..."

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27 users have voted.
Lunanga's picture
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Lunanga 19 June, 2017 - 10:54

In my opinion,I think that an online communication is kinda similar to a face-to-face one 'cause making an online video call is like having a real face-to-face conversation.
An online conversation is better than a face-to-face one 'cause with technology,it's simple to make a conversation anywhere and I don't need to embarrass myself with travelling or spend my time with hand-written letters.

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32 users have voted.
fay4's picture
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fay4 10 June, 2017 - 15:19

Firstly I like online communication more than face-to-face ... I think because I'm not used to face-to-face conversations .. as a person born in 2000 and most of my childhood was on internet , I don't mean that I'm shy or something like that .
I think it's an advantage to be able to edit your texts ... In the real world if you said something wrong or bad, it's over , you said it ! but online you can have your time to think about what you wrote

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35 users have voted.
wiseteen's picture
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wiseteen 23 May, 2017 - 18:03

There are many changes in the way we communicate through technology. In the one hand, technology seems to reduce the hole word into a little village, by enabling people to talk together across the world. But in the other hand, technology distracts people from the real communication.. just like the example that B provided. Sure, you still can talk to those who are near you, but you can't focus your hole attention on real life of you keep on scrolling the news feed of your social media home page.

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40 users have voted.