OPINION

Have we lost the art of conversation to online chatter and social media?

June Molony

Reporter:

June Molony

Email:

news@nationalist.ie

Have we lost the art of conversation to online chatter and social media?

Have we lost the art of conversation to online chatter and social media?

The other day I faced one of the most poignant questions I’ve been asked in a long time, and it opened up my mind. It was something to the effect of what is one of the most beautiful moments of your life? And what did it teach you?

I was forced to run through myriad images to try to define the one I most wanted to talk about. In those few moments I saw my daughter’s face as she was handed to me for the first time; I saw my closest friends and me lying face-up in a pool under the stars listening to Paul Simon, I saw myself dancing, feeling at one with nature, I saw myself curled up with loved ones staring into each other’s eyes.

Each taught me about connection. Each remained me how exquisite and meaningful life could be, even amid this day-to-day drudgery that so often makes us forget the precious moments I mention this to show how a simple question can evoke a lifetime of joy and lead to profound discussion and contemplation. I left the conversation elevated.

But, sadly it’s the reverse I want to address; the inability to converse, that is. What has happened to the art of conversation in these days of online chatter and social media and texted sound bites?

It’s a time when points of view are confined to a few characters or boxes, and statements are made rather than questions posed and pondered, when narcissists impose selfies and self-obsessed tweets to create envy rather than connection, and words are geared to a pathologically short attention span.

Conversation is about giving, not just receiving, knowing how to activity listen to questions in a way to elicit something meaningful of fun. You’ll go further with people if you make conversation a fun and fruitful experience that stretches their imagination, makes them feel good or challenged, leaves them with new information or something of value.
Research shows people who have more substantive conversations with others have a greater sense of wellbeing than those who engage in small talk.

Now there’s something worth discussing!!

“Nothing compares to a beautiful conversation with a beautiful mind”
Conversation is a meeting of the mind with different memories and habits, when minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts, they transform them, reshape them, and engage in new trains of thought! Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards, it creates new cards. One way to prevents conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing.

We must learn how to talk to one another and more important listen to one another. We need to talk to people we disagree with because you can’t unfriend everyone in real life.
Conversation is good, you might not agree with everyone, but at least it gives you a chance to contemplate someone else’s ideas. Conversation means being able to disagree and still continue the discussion.

The importance of face-to-face conversation is a physical connection between two people listening to each other.

A text is not conversation 
A text is a means for setting up a conversation, but is not to be misconstrued as a conversation itself.
The importance of children developing good communication skills, as a child develops it is important we nurture their communication skills so they are capable of expressing themselves. The ability to communicate is a key skill, and the better we are at it, the better our quality of life will be. Language is an important skill that allows a person to communicate. A delay in language skills can cause frustration for a child as miscommunication about what she may be trying to convey.

In conversation, humour is worth more than wit and easiness, more than knowledge!
Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. Conversation is an exercise of the mind, gossip is merely an exercise of the tongue, and there is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees!