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.

 

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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

Abborren's picture
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Abborren 29 April, 2021 - 14:18

I think online and face-to-face conversations is very important. I ma from Sweden and for me online conversations works much better then face-to-face when learning english. I often play games and meet people from other countries. Sometimes I talk to people from The USA and sometimes people from Germany. Having conversations with people all over the world is helping me with my english and understanding english from all over the world. So online communication isnt so bad at it seems.

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Gametastic_nl's picture
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Gametastic_nl 15 March, 2021 - 17:06

I think that new technological innovation gives us a series 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 it very useful Whatsapp, for instant. Because thanks to it we can be communicated 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 a coffee without talking, just keeping a relationship with their phones. That is the really sad aspect of this.

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watenber's picture
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watenber 1 February, 2021 - 08:31

I can say with certainty that i prefer real life conversations. The online kind of conversation is a smart thing and is too very practical but lacks facial expressions, the spontaneous reactions to someone´s opinion and of course, gestures, which say a lot about the person. You can see from their body language whether they are uncomfortable or eager to talk about one topic, and it makes you feel closer with the person, strengthening your bond with them. On the other hand, texting lacks that. You can´t see the person´s body language, however, there is a way of expressing our emotions aside from words and these are gifs, images and emoticons. But I still stand behind my opinion that standing face to face with someone is a lot better way of communication and we should spend time with people personally as much as we can.

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Razvan's picture
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Razvan 4 November, 2020 - 21:07

I prefer face to face conversation because you can see the reactions , gestures, facial expressions and the person itself and it can be much more helpful in some cases because for example you can see if the person it's interested in the conversation or not.

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Florinaaa 3 November, 2020 - 15:23

The technology changed our hobbies, the way of working and our interpersonal relationships , in other words the technology changed our way of life. Some of them are helping us to communicate and learn new things and thats why i think the technology is helping us so much but we can become obsessed.

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Elena11B's picture
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Elena11B 28 October, 2020 - 16:50

I like verbal communication because we can express ourselves more freely, we can gesture, but the most important thing is that we can find out if the person we are talking to can tell us untrue things.

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mightnot's picture
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mightnot 28 October, 2020 - 16:05

We live in a modern world, where everything around us has changed over the years. The means of communication are more and more advanced.
I cannot choose a single means of communication, because they depend on several factors.
Even if talking on the phone is easier and faster to achieve, sometimes I prefer face-to-face communication, to see the real reactions of the person I'm talking to.

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Roxana's picture
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Roxana 28 October, 2020 - 15:36

I prefer face-to-face communication because is easier to express myself and see if the person which i have a conversation with is interested in what I am saying. I can tell my idea or opinion much more quickly and with facial expressions that help the listener to understand what i want to say

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MateescuGeorge's picture
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MateescuGeorge 28 October, 2020 - 15:31

I prefer face to face communication because I find it healthier for the human mind,because it allows for a more meaningful and deep connection between people,wich is very important for mentaining functional and stable relationships.

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EMIL 28 October, 2020 - 14:12

I prefer face to face communication because i can express myself much more easily than online pulse communication brawlers can happen .In face to face communication i feel much more comfortable and face to face communication is batter for learning English

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Duiculete 28 October, 2020 - 13:48

I like face-to-face communication because it is much easier to communicate with other people that gestures can be used and you can also look at the facial expressions. Online communication is annoying because there are problems with the current internet and there are not enough advanced programs to be able to understand each other properly

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MegaMilk 28 October, 2020 - 12:28

I am Luiza Elena

I prefer face to face communication because I'm able to read the body language of the other people in the room, which often sends a very different message to what their words are saying, I find it much easier to engage with people when sitting across from them, face to face, You can make more of an impression face to face, based on what you are wearing, how you conduct yourself in the meeting, even your computer/pens etc. and last but not least, it is always better to have the hard conversations face-to-face. So much gets lost in translation otherwise, and a small problem can grow in a big problem simply because we didn't make the effort to meet with someone face-to-face to talk through the issue and work out a solution.

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Corina123's picture
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Corina123 28 October, 2020 - 12:24

I prefer face to face communication more than online communicatiin because I can see the person who is talking to me and I can see their gestures and mimics.

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tasigigica 28 October, 2020 - 09:45

I like the face-to-face conversation more because I understand better and it's easier to communicate

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Rageless 28 October, 2020 - 08:25

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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CapbunAndreeaa 27 October, 2020 - 21:55

I like face to face communication more because it is a better communication and you can see the expressions of the person, the interest of the person you are talking to, you can see more things compared to online communication.

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Daniela1008 27 October, 2020 - 21:39

In my opinion , they way we communicate with technology is evolving very fast and im proud to witness it. We have A.I's that look, speak and sound almost human-like. We use technology everyday in our lives and now, since this pandemic started we are using it more and more often (to talk to relatives ,to work from home, to get in touch with your teachers and so on). The way we communicate through technology is bringing us, the whole world together .I see this as an improvement to be honest. I never was the kind to hide behind a computer/electronic device when expressing my opinions and feelings and that's why I usually prefer face-to-face conversations . I am a shy person and I need to admit that its easier for most shy persons to express their feelings/opinions/thoughts via online conversations BUT I actually prefer to see the person which I'm talking to, to se its gestures or to actually hear it.
So, in conclusion , I don't specifically prefer online conversations or face-to face ones. Depends of the situation I'm in.

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Seby 27 October, 2020 - 19:45

I like face-to-face communication because you can send more information in face-to face comunication. At school when i have hard lesson it's much harder to understand the lesson online. Maybe in a few years when the technology will evolve more and it will be possible to transmit more information online (more senses) but now i like more face-to-face communication.

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Jambo's picture
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Jambo 27 October, 2020 - 12:52

I prefer face-to-face communication because I can see the reactions of the person I'm talking to. See if the teacher listens to me if he's interested in what I'm saying, if he's rolling his eyes, etc. And face-to-face communication does not affect vision as the online one does. Because it's pandemic I need to use online communication and video, which I dislike, because I prefer verbal communication face to face

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LupescuMelisa's picture
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LupescuMelisa 27 October, 2020 - 10:57

I think I choose face-to-face communication because it is very important when we have something important to express. Frontal communication is important,but also the visual contact, the tone of voice, the facial expressions with their help we realize if the one in front is connected in conversation, listens to us, we are approved or lied.In these times of pandemic, I choose to use online communication with friends and family, because it is much safer, we protect ourselves from the virus, helping to end the pandemic and see each other face to face.

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emanuellyfurriel's picture
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emanuellyfurriel 12 October, 2020 - 13:08

The world definitely changed the way it communicates, especially between this new generation. In my opinion, we evolved in some aspects but not in others. For example, my friends prefer to chat online than to hangout face-to-face, which can be very irritating since I don't have this real contact with them. When we do go out together, we usually stay on our devices playing online games or using social media. However, the adults are getting into this brand new world as well. I frequently see my mom using her cellphone while eating or talking to us, and this deeply affects the way we bond. In conclusion, technology can bring positive values in our lives, yet if we don't know how to equilibrate reality and online, it can truly become a dangerous weapon.

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Giovannichoi's picture
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Giovannichoi 19 April, 2020 - 11:11

There are so many changes in the way to communicate with our friends and our company. Many people have their own SNS acounts and send text messages to their friends, using Cacao talk and Line. And even my friends are sending text messages untill it became very late. Once, my little crazy friend send me a crazy message when it was 2 a.m. And he called me when it was 3:35 a.m. Also some of my friends pick their smartphone as soon as the scholl's finish bell rang. They play games and talk through the messages, when friends are gather with. I think smartphone and the other communicating technology made people to the mindless people, who usually prefer not to talk and talk using the apps. So, I really don't like to send text messages. I like to talk face-to-face with poeple and if I have to talk by the phone, I use calling service in my phone. I want to talk with my friends face-to-face.

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hermione123's picture
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hermione123 23 February, 2021 - 10:49

yeah, i get what you think. some of my friends do that too. we gather, but they text different people online. it little bit sad that we don't talk to each other, because it looks like they ingnore people that gather with them.

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Shams's picture
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Shams 16 September, 2019 - 19:47

To begin with, technology has redundance of opportunities to get access the widened source of knowledge more than ever. Along with upsides this notion comes with downsides. So, decision is yours which one you are going to take.

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Youjiro's picture
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Youjiro 9 February, 2019 - 08:29

Advantage of communication on the internet is easy and share. when i sent a message to friend I use social media as soon as I can.Reason is most first and easiest way to communicate each other.Usage of Gmail is for service on the internet ,also I use Skype as well.however communicate on the internet has disadvantage.First of all,We don't spend time face-to-face conversation,in addition Someone don't like this way.eventually students are decreasing communication skill.as a result teenager don't talking each other.In fact I don't spend much time face-to-face conversation.
to sum up. we use social media to communicate widely whereas some people don't like communicate on the internet .

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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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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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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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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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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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