in things I think about

Is coffee talk better than electronic conversations?

James Shelley ponders real life interactions vs social media. This brought a few thoughts in no particular order:

  • any discussion of “real life” over “social media” that happens electronically is … well … ironic, I guess.
  • real life conversation can also be meaningless. We’ve invented “small talk” for these awkward elevator moments, and we “like” it when our co-workers show us pictures of their new-born kids.
  • what’s more interesting to me is his point about blogging vs. “social media”. I agree that the current movement to take back control of the content of our online conversations is important. And it’s not only about _ownership_ of that content, its also (mostly?) about _subject matter_. We lack social constructs around electronic media and we’ve been suckered into the path of least resistance (liking pictures of our last meal). But for every _meaningful_ coffee-house conversation there a millions of inane ones. Face to face interaction is not inherently better, we simply have more practice at filtering out the chaff, and we have brilliant examples going all the way back to Socratic dialogs.
  • letter writing comes to mind as a better metaphor for what we’re trying to do as a society. Here is a medium that is used for advertisement, administrative communication, _keep in touch_ postcards from the beaches of Brittany. But take a look at letters of note and tell me again how letter writing can’t possibly be better than face to face conversation.

Finally, I’m surprised at how interesting this topic is to me, and frankly, it wouldn’t have come about without the very technological help of, both for putting me in touch with James’ thoughts and for allowing blog to blog conversations!



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