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Talking & Listening- Is It A Dying Art?

Facebook just turned ten years old- so I was wondering: How many of you are ready and willing to parent and feed this child for another ten years or longer? Or the bigger question: Are you content with reading about your friends and loved ones lives- above talking and listening to them?


I know, it’s the sign of the times and times are changing and I too engage in social media and text messaging- probably much more than some others but it’s a question that I am struggling with and it’s a question that I believe a lot of us haven’t really thought much about because we have been so caught up in the many positive aspects of social media. After all, who can deny that we haven’t been brought closer together with friends and family, some of them separated from us by thousands of miles- after seeing pictures and videos that chronicle their every day lives?

When we see a status update we sometimes feel compelled to respond and our message is most of the time met with either a “like” or a nice comment. But… then there’s other times when voice inflection, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, which we receive in a face to face meeting or in part; on the phone, is lost. We lose an important part of that good face to face or ear to ear communication when it is needed most of all: When we are engaged in written messages that can seem more contentious and confrontational than they were really meant to be. When the last word is written in a heated message, many times it will end any further communication between two people; sometimes for months and sometimes forever.  But when you are face to face or on the phone, a patch up or ease in an argument or relationship is much more likely- which is usually prompted by moving onto another subject or activity.  With that being said- it’s during these times when the written word alone fails us and ultimately- it could end a cherished relationship that we have been building for years.

A study that was presented by Ofcom has shown that our long love affair with the phone call has finally gone into reverse as of 2011. Landline usage fell by 10% in 2011 and mobile phone calls fell by 1%. I would also go out on a limb and suggest that face to face interactions are also in decline. 

I would argue that we are no longer talking or listening to each other in the ways that we should be. Myself included. Facebook and social media have enhanced relationships both near and far- but talking and listening have taken a back seat and I think it’s time we pay more attention to that very important part of human interaction.

With this in mind, along with other projects that need to be completed, I have decided to take a leave from Facebook for 2 weeks.  It will be sort of a retreat to re-focus my energies on my life and to decide on where I want to go as I approach my sixth decade.  During this time, I may even pay a visit and or make a phone call or two. I hope you will do the same…



Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: