Blog Post

Are many conversations pointless and does technology discourage face to face interaction?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 18 August 2010



Are many conversations pointless and does technology discourage face to face interaction?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 122
Posted DateWednesday 18 August 2010 12:30 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
PeopleEuan Semple, Johnnie Moore , Theodore Zeldin

I recently came across this article on conversation: Pub is hub of conversation and I tweeted it thus:

43% of all conversations are pointless http://bit.ly/coXmPR /or are they?

I hoped someone would take the bait and ask what I meant by the question and one or two did.

Personally, I beleive that some conversations are totally pointless but I suspect far less than we think otherwise as Johnnie Moore quipped "if "pointless" why are we having em?"

My response is that we are having them to get to know each other better. Conversations help build and sustain relationships regardless of the value of the content - amongst other things they reveal the other persons values. Conversely they can also destroy relationships - often for the bad but sometimes for the good. There are some people whose values I so dislike that I don't want a relationship with them LOL

To my mind then trivial everyday conversations aren't pointless though like Theodore Zeldin I would love for many of them to be more meaningful.

Euan Semple also chipped in on the tweet to say this

@johnniemoore @DavidGurteen what a crap article! Now that technology is encouraging less face to face interaction," - rubbish!

Now this I would agree with. I think Theodore has got this wrong. "Conversational" technology such as blogs, Twitter, Skype, Facebook etc have connected me with many more people than the past and allowed me to stay in touch with them and keep up with their lives and interests. Thus I want to meet them more and enjoy their company and their conversation face to face and of course the technology allows me to do this too. I see this not only in myself but in my three children (Y-geners). They have phenomenal social lives compared to me when I was their age - where of course a lot of "pointless conversation" goes on LOL

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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