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The Lost Art of Conversation February 7, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Social Media, social networks.

lost art

Everyone that knows me knows how much I love social media and social networking. I am a big fan of web 2.0 and do not fear any bubble bursting any time soon. However, something happened to me today on my drive home from work that forced me to rethink some thing when it comes to our modern methods of communication. It dawned on me that despite all of the numerous tools of conversations we have available today, we’ve somehow lost the fine art of conversation.

Sure, we can send short 140-character messages via twitter or long rambling diatribes via email, but nothing beats talking to someone one on one in person or even on the telephone. Yes, some will argue that we can conduct more responsive interactive conversation within a live chat room platform, where the exchanges can indeed mimic a real world conversation, but once again it is a pale substitute for the real deal. Despite all smileys and emoticon etiquette, something ALWAYS gets lost in translation when it’s just text, my friends.

All right, some will say that the newer forms of communication have improved upon the flaws of the web 1.0 methods of communication. The static forms of the message boards and forums have been usurped by newer mutations of web conversations. For example, the audio and video micro-blogging platforms such as Utterz and Seesmic have indeed introduced more “human” elements to the delicate art of discussions. While it is a step in the right direction by putting a face and voice into the mix, once again I must contend that nothing will ever replace the powerful simplicity of talking to another person.

During my commute home from work I received a surprise phone call from an online friend of mine, none other than
Chris Brogan. While we’ve communicated countless times via direct messages and replies on Twitter, exchanged numerous emails and audio/video posts on Utterz and heck even within the comments sections of each other’s blogs, this was truly the first time that we actually had a real honest to goodness old fashioned conversation. There were no @ signs or tinyurl links to be had, just a nice, long talk between friends about numerous topics. It was such a simple and enjoyable way of communicating that I believe I’ve taken it for granted thanks to my deep submersion into the social media ocean.

I know as a fact that I am not the only one who’s all wet when it comes to this matter. There’s a constant stream of new swimmers who dive headfirst into the social networking pool. While it’s a good thing that so many more people are accepting these tools and technology, we all must be careful not to lose sight of what’s most important. We must do our best to make more personal interactions with the people in our lives, whether it’s on the phone or in person.

One of the best new trends in the social networking/media world are all of the meetups and tweetups going on in so many cities across the country. Virtual friends are taking their conversation offline and meeting their friends in person at local establishments. I think that is a fantastic step in the right direction. If you can’t make one of these meetings any time soon, then just pick up the phone and give your new friend a call. Who knows, you might actually help bring back the lost art of conversation.


1. PurpleCar - February 7, 2008

Hey! I LOVE the meetups, been to 2 so far. I’m all about real face to face connection, I agree.

2. John Buckley - February 10, 2008

Really nice post. Social media ‘conversations’ are often fragmentary & time-delayed. Still valuable & vibrant but real-time & real-world will always have the edge.

3. Starter Conversations Over Internet Chat « 1.5 Generation Indian - July 14, 2008

[…] I told her that I liked her profile, was uncomfortable with our chats, and unsure if it was our medium of communication or if there was a disconnect between […]

4. Travis Smith - December 16, 2008


Do you mind if I use your photo for training/educational purposes? I am actually making similar points.

Thank you!


5. Nancy Vineburgh - April 28, 2009

Like Travis, I am seeking permission to use this photo for a very special health communication for military hospitals. I work for our nation’s military medical school, Uniformed Services University, and we are developing a campaign for the families and children of combat injured soldiers. This image would be helpful in brochure or poster where we want to encourage families to talk about the injury (difficult conversations) between themselves, with their children.

Please advise, and thank you for your thoughtful content and intriguing image.

6. How to talk to your video gaming significant other - Fruzsina Eordogh - Femme Fatality - True/Slant - June 12, 2010

[…] are crying over our youth’s inability to communicate without a machine and somehow we’ve lost the subtle art of conversation.  Social media is more popular than ever, and even the video game industry (from Xbox Live to […]

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[…] image enhanced from original […]

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