Is Technology Killing our Society?

Many of my friends hate small talk. I am not taking the word hate lightly either, they totally despise it. I have come to realize that I use it as a tool in business settings, but with my friends I prefer actual conversations.

I have recently started exchanging e-mails with an old school friend. Not just Chicago friend, but back when I lived in Colombia friend. He is a civil engineer and knows how to use technology, but he made me take a step back when instead of replying to an instant message from me he wrote another well put together e-mail. His first sentence saying that he does not like monosyllable responses… it really got my brain going.

In Colombia humor is used as the instrument of small talk. Instead of an empty how is the weather? are the Bears gonna suck again? Is it 100 years for the Cubs? How long will the Royals winning last? you get more colorful conversations but alas just as empty of true substance. I think chatting and texting is taking that to a whole new level.

A couple of my cousins have access to the internet and we “talk” in a semi regular basis. When I started to think about it, we have not had a conversation in years really, but we exchange pleasantries and from “how is the family” to “how is work” we move onto, “good.” Don’t get me wrong, thanks to chat I have full conversations with some friends that are a good distance away from me, but it is easy to go into a routine of canned phrases and monosyllables very easily.

I am not sure if I can blame small talk, but I can surely blame technology for making it so easy to “communicate” while not saying much. Much like what twitter does to some blogs. I like substance, conversation, stories, anecdotes… I think many chat programs already have bots with pre-programmed responses. I want to have more meaningful conversations. What do you guys think?

10 comments on “Is Technology Killing our Society?

  1. I do often think that the more ways people have to get in touch with me, the less I actually talk to anyone.

  2. To be fair it is not all technologies fault. A lot of people live in a world of instant gratification. They like their coffee fast, their wait short, and their information concise.

    Like you I use small tack (the original chat medium) at work. But I see that other than inter office memos that small talk is about all my customers do. Some of them exhibit this while being technophobes. I think the world is getting faster paced while a lot of people want to become less involved.

    Anyway, great topic! I am gonna keep dropping by to check up on other comments.

    N }:-

  3. Its all about convience. We can say more while taking less time to say it.

    That and we’ve all become lazy. I don’t know.

  4. Small-talk is just a mechanism of social grooming, like two apes picking bugs off each others backs. You talk to an infrequently-encountered coworker about the weather because some interaction is expected and socially beneficial for everybody, and it’s something safe and easy. And it’s just bullshit, empty calories, pointless. Feh.

  5. As a LONG time (10+ years) real time chat host (useing palace chat) simmular to a party line version of IM where the server was an actual destination (and home to some) within cyberspace.
    I can safely say technology has givin us a layer of safty in which we feel a little more comfortable around others and are more willing to give, what would otherwise be total strangers, a glimps into our lives in order to reach out and make new friends.
    And yet, it still keeps a certin amount annomonity for a sense of protection.
    I can see why your friend perfers E-mails to IM too.. A lot of people who use computers to communicate with other can usualy be broken down into 1 of 3 types.

    On the far left, you have those who thrive on REAL-TIME responses. Be it IM, voice chat, or even video chat. Even those of us who play WoW kinda fit into this catagory.
    because we need this constant STREAM of responses in order for us to formulate on how to act and reply.

    On the far right, you have those who perfer (what i like to call) CYBER-TIME responses. Be it E-mail, Forums, or Blogs. In that you have ALL the time that you need in order to consicely think out your response and word it properly so that there is a sense that you are makeing yourself absolutly clear on your point of view. These people tend to pick apart what you say and attempt to read between the lines. They tend to shy away from REAL-TIME forms of communication for fear of making mistakes in what they say. Or more simply feeling like beign put on the spot like an inquizition.

    And the third type is those who fall inbetween the other two. These people tend to be great mediators between the two other types. And has some skills in both proficiancy and punctuation, But is by no means a true master of either.

    I for one feel like I am thrird type.

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  7. When using leetspeak, you should be aware that you are almost definitely coming across as a moron.
    Person A: ph34r my 1337 hax0rz ski11z
    Person B: What?

  8. Yes. Being able to have instant access to everyone has made my life miserable. IM, text messages, email, phone calls, etc. There is no excuse for me not to be able to be contacted, or initiate contact. LEAVE ME ALONE!!! Is that really too much to ask?

    Present company excluded, of course. :-)

  9. some people like myself may not have some deeper substance: bitch about the traffic,bitch about the weather, what’s for lunch, time to go home,some more traffic, home, blog, couch,tv. how is that for an IM.

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