In the immortal words of Cliff Richard (1979), it really seems that we aren’t talking anymore, at least not on the phone.
We always had so much to say!
One of my over-riding memories of the 1970s is always having so much to say.
My father was forever complaining about the amount of time I spent on the phone.
Time spent chatting with my best friend, Rachel, after school was inexplicable to my parents, because apparently, having spent the whole day together already, we couldn’t possibly have anything that urgent to recount.
But we did, lots of things, things that were far too critical to save for the morrow.
For those of us inhabiting the demographic known as Generation X, news of the decline of the phone call, seems like the impending death of a good friend.
It’s all ‘conversation’, but no ‘talk’
The phone call, it seems, has been superseded by ‘the conversation’.
‘Conversation’ used to evoke the image of a dialogue involving the human voice, a sequence of turn-taking and sharing information.
Now it’s a marketing expression, which seems to predominately involve the garnering of useful intelligence from customers in the interests of the brand.
I guess conversations have always been about data exchange, but the very word has been devalued to the point that it no longer involves speech at all.
A quick check on the etymology of the word ‘conversation’ reveals meanings not dissimilar from those associated with ‘hygge’ (the epitome of all things cozy) including ‘familiarity’, ‘intimacy’ and even ‘keep company with’: all sentiments sadly missing from the sterility of a digital messaging platform.
The sound of silence
Whilst digital media specialists make observations about the internet being a ‘noisy’ place, where your ‘content’ can easily get overlooked, it’s actually incredibly silent out there in the real world now. No one’s actually speaking to you at all.