There is a justifiable lament in the air. It concerns the lack of actual conversation taking place between people. In the online world a large portion of our conversation has devolved into one-click LIKEs or, in the case of LinkedIn, Endorsements. No context. No qualification. No degree. No discussion. Either you LIKE/Endorse or you don’t. Life isn’t like that, by and large.
Unless the extra effort is made to treat online interactivity with others as if it were more like meeting face-to-face and less like registering a momentary or long-standing opinion or belief, we cannot really get at the WHY of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. I’m suffering from this disease as much as anyone. So much revolves around convenience and time constraints, real or perceived. It is SO MUCH EASIER to register a LIKE than add a full fledged thought by way of a comment. It takes so much less time to just click a box full of Endorsements for someone than write a meaningful recommendation. Plus, none of this completely binary…sometimes I do comment and write a recommendation. What would our social discourse be like if I pushed myself to engage just a little bit more? Comment on more great or thoughtful blog posts rather than add a “+1” or “-1”? Come back to online discussions and carry on the conversation even further, rather post once and walk away? Say, how about walk away from the keyboard and have lunch with some folks and talk? Bring up deeper topics than the weather, my new phone, what the kids are doing or what I watched on the tube?
And, even more important, listen. Actually pay attention to the other person, and not spend the time planning my clever retort? Listen a make an attempt to understand. We don’t live in a black and white world. There is the widest and deepest spectrum of thought making up who we are and what we think and believe. Exult in it! Listen to it and take part….people are actually pretty cool.