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Has written communication coupled w/technology {email, texting} caused a decline in verbal skills? Is the art of conversation endangered?

When was the last time you engaged in a lively, first person, conversation? Do you miss the give and take of impromptu conversation - or perhaps, have you come to prefer texting over talking? What does this say about our ability to think on our feet, engage one another on a purely human - no digital surrogates in place - level? Do the devices we use to communicate replicate accurately our voice, or is meaning and tone somewhat sacrificed to convenience?

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    Jan 26 2012: I don't think it has. Technology has made it so that people can give even more thought to what they want to say and choose the right words without the pressure of saying something wrong. It is true that thinking on your feet is an incredibly important asset to have, however the need to think on your feet i believe has declined. Texting and email have made it easier to think at one's own pace. Before the rise of this communication revolution, many heated arguments arose from impromptu conversations, when one party perhaps was not able to think on their feet as quickly as the other person and their word choice slipped up somewhere along the way causing a loss of a client or a business partner or a friend. Now texting and email, for me at least, has given me time to collect my thoughts and has allowed me to form my words more carefully and i believe tone can be somewhat conveyed through the use of lols and :)s at an unprofessional standpoint of course, but i believe the right diction can also convey tone just as well. I know that i'm arguing from the position based on my thoughts and experiences but i can easily jump on over to the art of speech and how oratory eloquence is beautiful and can be touched by the heart much deeper than a few pixels on a screen. This is a pretty open debate, and i would definitely love to engage in a lively first person conversation over this topic, although i may need to pause occasionally to collect my thoughts :)
  • Feb 1 2012: I often find that the technology which promised to streamline life - has actually complicated it - and think this is true regarding verbal conversation vs digital communica~
    I often ponder too long meaning when using email - and in regard to facebook, texting, etc - I believe tone can be so lost, so too is the emotion or meaning when engaging in exchange in these formats. BUT - these modes of exchange are here to stay it would seem. So the benefits I've experienced personally are worth mentioning.
    Twitter gave me practice in the art of brevity. I think it's an invaluable skill - especially for students - to learn to use 140 characters as powerfully as possible. My overall writing is better. I get quite a lot of practice and though some communication is slower than if I were talking on the phone - often, I feel I'm able to wrangle many thoughts into better flowing and constructed thoughts.
    Perhaps we are still learning how to most effectively use these mediums? With so many channels to communicate now, there is a rich source of opinion available to tap for discussion on most any subject.
    I wonder tho - has anyone become "phobic" so to speak about actually talking on the phone? That IS something I like to do less and less... but I'm always glad when connect to others, it just feels as though it isn't either convenient, or productive most often. Thoughts?
  • Jan 31 2012: I feel that written communication combined with technology has damaged language beyond just conversationally. When I was in high school I had a discussion with my English Lit. teacher about some of the essays she was marking from an English 12 honours class. The grammer and spelling in many was pretty horrific, and some people even ventured to use text acronyms in them. She told me that students over the years were having a hard time understanding text books that she'd been using for the last ten years. When I think about that, the texts aren't changing and getting more difficult, it's that the level of education people are receiving is degrading.

    Another example I feel fits here is that my six year old nephew got a laptop for Christmas. When his mother was asked why she bought him this piece of technology she said it was because a teacher had complained about his writing skills, and she said he would now learn how to type his homework so that he would be able to avoid working on his penmanhip. This blew my mind.

    I think that many people also use techonology such as facebook and twitter as a replacement for socializing. Which to me is a bad thing, we're encouraging people to become more and more isolated from eachother, whilst creating the illusion that they aren't actually isolated at all.

    I think that technology all around is harming communication, and language.