When was the last time you actually had a conversation with someone? Face to face, or on the phone? I don't seem to remember when this has happened to me last, but it seems that in the rush of life, we've stopped talking, and started communicating through text messaging of any kind, emoticons, and links to the latestTED Talk, but I miss listening to peoples voices. The warmth of the tone of voice is lost, which we try to make up for using silly emojis.
Some may argue that with these communications tools the revival of the lost art of writing has come back, but has it? A few months ago I had the pleasure of listening to Israeli typographer Oded Ezer, at MassArt, in Boston. Ezer had provocatively stated that text is dead, and we are headed to a place where people will end up communicating with images, photos, and videos. I have to admit this kind of freaks me out. I love text, I use it to help me think, I use it in my design work. Text, is a powerful tool of communication, but so is the lost art of talking to each other, interrupting each other, yelling, and whispering a lovely good night. We lose the ability to be compassionate when we don't hear the tone of voice.
In the past I have wrote about how the challenges of anopen space conceptin an office environment created this muted existence within the space. But the actual silence is misleading as there is a lot of online and virtual chatter. I'm not against online or virtual communication, I like using social media, and acknowledge its value (as I tell my 6 year old son, not everything needs to be said out loud). I just wonder what this does to the culture of a company, the casual "water cooler" conversation where people would physically move from their desks, and seek out other people to exchange some ideas, have real eye contact, measure and learn peoples expressions, and interact with the whole complex package of what we call human beings. Office spaces are losing these interaction spaces not only because of the price per SQFT, but also because they are not used as much. We need these interaction spaces, people forget to look up from the screen and just say hello.
What does it do to our society as a whole, how much disconnect is created through these seemingly amazing tools of communications, how have we become these machine like responders to beeps and vibrations?
How our articulate kids are losing the ability to carry a non scripted conversation.
I think we need to call Elvis...
*Lyrics by Dire Straits