ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Lost Art of Conversation: How gadgets are watering down society

Updated on February 7, 2014

"Shoot, I forgot my phone"

Does anyone else find it tough to have a meaningful conversation these days? Nowadays, engaging some people is akin to pulling teeth, and I often ask myself is it even worth the hassle? It seems to me that the majority of conversations I have with people are vapid, offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging. I guess you have to find the right person to talk to but the trend towards the unimaginative and bland has become inescapable and it causes me a lot of apprehension when trying to meet new people. I may come off sounding pessimistic, but that's not the truth. Actually, I think we're the most interesting and beautiful creatures on the planet that can offer up a lot to each other. It's amazing to think about the magnitude and scope of this planet and the multitude of different cultures that live off it. The world is a lot bigger than Quincy, MA and sometimes I ignore that axiom. The idea I'm trying to accentuate is that the more we learn about different people, the more insightful our conversations will be. Think about it. If your behavior and speech is affected, how are you supposed to empathize with people that are out of "your" realm of normalcy? Our obsession with electronics is augmenting a dissociation with one another, and that has become detrimental to cool and interesting conversation topics. Did you see Justin Bieber was arrested for egging some dude's house? Yeah, cool story bro! Here's the problem: as interesting as the arrest of a Canadian pop-star is, this is a ridiculously frivolous story that has been recycled by millions of other people. Why not come up with something more imaginative and profound to talk about? We are essentially subjugated by the very devices designed to foster freedom and growth. The bleak and banal have become pervasive in our chitchats. We must learn to put down our Galaxy's and IPhone's once in a while and try reading some sort of piece of literature. The more you read and comprehend, the more you bring to the table in a conversation.


What a great conversation we just had! Thank God for our phones...
What a great conversation we just had! Thank God for our phones...

"But, they're practical?..."

Now, I'm not trying to come off as some whiny curmudgeon that tries to serve as an apologist for my peers. That's not the aim of this article and that's not how I really feel. I truly do believe if we spent less time on our gadgets, the door for conversation would swing open. We'd be forced to come up with something half-interesting to talk about. The greatest conversation killer in modern history goes to the smart-phone, in my opinion. "Hey, I have a smart phone. What's wrong with them?" The answer: nothing at all. The problem lies in the way users have become enthralled with the gadget; not the actual phone itself. The smart-phone is like a double-edged sword, if you will. It's both a blessing and a curse simultaneously. It's no secret that these gadgets have made life more convenient for both the public and private sector, and that's all well and good. I can't and won't argue against the efficiency and practically of these incredible devices. If you feel like I'm browbeating you from purchasing a smart phone, you're missing my point. I myself have just become an IPhone user but I don't let it consume my life. Productive apps like Luminosity, Duolingo, Bible, History Channel, Kindle, and things of that nature litter my interface. There's absolutely nothing wrong with gadgets if you use it the right way; the real problem lies with the owner. This misuse of technology is analogous to the phrase, "Don't blame the dog, blame the owner." It's not the machines fault that you spend countless hours unproductively. I'll leave you with an innuendo in the form of a quote to simply understand what I'm trying to convey here. "A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees", William Blake.


But...

That being said, I think they're contributing to the watering down of society. The trend towards immediacy has replaced the not-so-novel concept of thought and expounding on ideas. In other words, why think about it when it's right there in front of me? Should I be picking on smart-phones or is there a larger societal problem that's causing us to drift away from actual interpersonal communication? The decline in newspaper readership is definitely a contributing factor to the lack of substance in many peoples conversations. In depth stories by accredited journalists are far more favorable than a 250 word blog written by some hack. The reason I bring up the newspaper industry in the context of gadgets is because most of us that are on the move are content with receiving these specious reports and updates that come from blogging or gossip websites. Perhaps it's because the stories in print look too long for people to read and I get that. But there's so much exposition in those pieces that these other mediums can't provide you with. This is why I'm disappointed the newspaper industry is dying out because they are so important to the art of conversation...


This video pretty much says it all

Online vs. Print

The focus is now on online media rather than print and it's causing many newspaper companies to go out of business and stop the presses. Proponents for the usage of online newspapers and such would argue that the same people that stopped buying the morning newspaper have simply made the transition to digital. I would argue that many people actually prefer the dead tree edition and like the tangible qualities of a printed newspaper.

Perhaps people just aren't subscribing to online papers and are content with headlines and snippets of news as opposed to a full in-depth article. How can you have an opinion on something if you don't know the whole story? I'm starting to get the feeling that conversation has become too innocuous and people are afraid to have an opinion and speak on hot-button issues. We must learn to look each other in the eye and actually try to have a real conversation about something rather than just check our phones for the popular opinion, and then pass it off as our own. Willingness and preparation are the two important points to remember when striking up your next conversation. Oh wait, how long have you been reading this? You should probably check your phone...

Are smart-phones affecting our ability to live "in the moment"?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Interesting hub that takes a look at a couple of subjects I've also written about. Hope to read more of your work.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)