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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The lost art of face-to-face

It isn't often that a comic strip is worth blogging about, but Steve Breen's Grand Avenue last Sunday struck a nerve. He depicts 6-year-old Gabby boasting about her expertise with e-mail, instant messaging, posting on Internet bulletin boards or chat rooms and posting comments on a Web site. But when it comes to face-to-face conversation, it's "Uh ... Ima, Ima, Ima, Ima, Ima, uh ... Ima ...''

Steve, a former colleague at the Press, makes a powerful point. We're creating a generation of whizzes on computers, but when it comes to personal contact, they're lost. Public speaking is a lost art. The impact of eye contact is lost, too. And they don't know about reading facial expressions or body language.

When any of us sends an online message or e-mail, we assume we're communicating. But who knows if anyone is there - or cares? Or worse yet, is so anguished or anxious that the message is misinterpreted, aggravates an already tense situation or breeds unintended consequences? And you can't withdraw a sent message.

It remains to be seen how these new forms of communicating translate to workplace relationships and efficiency. We can only imagine the flood of master's or doctoral theses on the phenomenon to come.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. It isn't worth blogging about.

8:27 AM, March 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my computer so much that we are getting married next week.On second thought maybe we will have a civil union.

2:54 PM, April 03, 2007  

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