Has the art of conversation been hurt by the mobile?
Just look around you in any directions. What do you see? Strangers opening up a friendly dialogue with on another? Or do you see a number of “zombies” literally hypnotized by that little device in their hands called a cell or mobile phone? But what is wrong with this picture?
My Personal Observation
No one can argue how the invention of the iPhone, the Android, the Blackberry, or the Smartphone, has made life a little easier in recent times. But this is my observation: One summer I remembered while traveling by bus, I couldn’t help but notice something very interesting taking place inside the bus terminal. During a not so short lay-over in Shreveport Louisiana, as I watched people boarding off the bus, and those walking the busy downtown streets, as well as those sitting in the crowded waiting room, all had one thing in common. They had one hand over their ears-talking away on their mobile phones! One young woman in particular, was very noticeable ranting and raving back and forth across the floor in a very intense discussion for almost an hour! When I sat down, the two individuals I sat between were also on their mobile, and it became apparent to me. And that was that there was going to be no exchange of greetings-no engagement of any sort!
On another occasion (also at a public location) a woman told a gentleman sitting next to her how she liked his mobile phone-a simple gesture that should have triggered at the least some dialogue. The gentleman glued to his iPhone 5, didn’t even looked up or said a simple “thank you.” Not that it really mattered that much to me, but perhaps you have experienced something similar yourself. Which leads to the question: Are mobile phones killing the art of conversation? Are people slowly losing the natural way of speaking to one another, giving at least the appearance of people being rude or ill-mannered in the process?
The Declining Art of Conversation
There was a time when carrying a conversation was truly an art. It was something people looked forward to and most people knew how to start and engage someone in a friendly conversation. It was interesting to find out simple things like where are you from? What are your likes or dislikes? And what do you do? People took a genuine interest in other people. But that was then and this is now! According to the PEW Research Center, 13% of cell owners [have] pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them. It’s true that no one can argue the tremendous benefits that we receive from cell phones usage-but does it come at some cost?
The Emergence of Social Media
Just as mobile phones has capture the world, at the same time so has social media. With the emergence of social media on the internet, and the fact that organizations are learning how to use it to reach people, we are forced to go back to reinstate this simple and valuable art- the art of engagement and conversation. Yes, social media in some ways is taking us back to “school.”
Recall young lady mentioned earlier in this article. Yes-the one in the hour conversation? Well it dawned on me that if the individual on the other end of that line had been standing right next to her, she probably would not have one word to say to her. Why? Because she probably would have been on her mobile phone talking to someone else!