Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Value of Face-to-Face

Over the last two weeks I’ve come to value something that is missing in big institutions, the sit-down amongst colleagues. 

I’ve come across passages of inspiration lately that have started to really condemn technology for its ability to keep people away from each other.  E-mails, text messages,  instant messages, all have the capability of sending a message without looks, tones, or emotion.   Teens love text messaging for this very reason.  When I ask “how come you guys don’t just call”, the answer always ends up being “I don’t really want to talk with them” or “I can say anything and actually mean something else”.  Since the person isn’t actually there, they can’t size up the actual value of the conversation.  Text messaging just minimizes it.  Perfect for the self-centered and short attention spanned teenager. 

With adults the same rings true.  A previous post last year was about an e-mail that was sent out.  The reaction to that e-mail was, interesting.  However the sit-downs I’ve had have produced real dialogue that wouldn’t happen if we weren’t sitting down and talking out feelings, frustrations, and hopefully solutions.  The impersonal  nature of e-mails doesn’t allow for real questions to be answered because the personal nature of the questions doesn’t exist.  You can better gauge the answer and reformulate questions because you are actually there.  Simply doing that can allow you to also take back those questions that linger at the beginning and fade as the conversation moves in a more constructive direction.

I’ve been reading a couple of articles stating that 2011 is the year of the social network backlash.  That the Internet loneliness will come to the forefront as a societal problem that demands everyone to unplug.  While I highly doubt it, I can see more and more institutions reminding themselves that human contact helped solve a hell of a lot more problems than e-mail ever has.   

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