Is the art of conversation dead or just dying?

The Daily Telegraph @Daily_Telegraph The Daily Telegraph
Mobiles ‘not for phone calls’
This tweet received this morning tweaked my interest.  The article quotes mobile phone deals comparison website, who have conducted an analysis of user hits on their website during February.
The analysis  indicates a trend towards packages with less voice minutes and a greater number of bundled text messages and internet data volumes.
Indeed “one swallow doesn’t make a summer” just as one small survey doesn’t indicate a world wide phenomena and so I needed some additional evidence to justify me spending some time on the train home this evening blogging about this.  So in order to substantiate my claim that this survey heralds a decline in the art of conversation and a preference towards new forms of social interation I undertook my own research.  Collabrative evidence gathered today in a higher scientific way, namely a straw poll of the office seems to suggest that this is indeed the case.  The highly representive group I questioned concurred, their partners, spouses & children all seemed to consume vast amounts of data and messages in their monthly packages, it was not uncommon to hear of 100s of text messages being sent daily!! Siblings text each other in different rooms of the house,
It is somewhat of an oxymoron that the term social media is touted as the collective to describe a form of communication that embraces the brief and succinct in a ironically non-social environment.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I tweet, facebook & blog and I enjoy it.  I am a late adopter of facebook but have found I really enjoy twitter. I find it useful and informative in places, but there can be an awful lot of drivel out there.   
I am a strong advocate of using technology to advance & enhance ones life, in essence to make life easier. I do worry though that the abbreviated mediums that began with text messaging and characterises social media will prevent further development in the skills of discussion, debate, influence & conversation.  Conversely constant recourse in the art of social media may develop a generation of people who can make their point in 50 words and not 400. 
My other concern is that one turns to the laptop, ipod, ipad, smartphone or MMORPG for social interaction rather than turn to a partner, sibling or friend and talk.  This can be particularly destructive in the early years of marriage or relationships where time & effort is required to build the foundation of a friendship that can endure a lifetime. 
So is social media good or is it bad?
Social media, the internet & other technology advances are inherently neither good nor bad, it is what we choose to do with it that dictates that. 
The computer I am typing this one can be used for  benefit or counterfeit, for advantage or disadvantage, to enhance or reduce.  As with so many things in life it is about the moderation, discipline & balance. Too much time spent on the golf course or on any other hobby can be equally detrimental to family & personal relationships as can overindulgence in social media or in the virtual world. But golf, football, ballet, knitting or one’s favourite soap opera are not inherently bad either (although I am sure there will be a goodly number on this vast  world wide web who could put up a good argument for each of these 🙂 !! ), and so it is with tweeting, texting, facebook, the internet & gaming etc.   
Well my train is pulling into my station, my time is finished.  I am heading home and going to stare at the tv all evening with my family,(it is comic relief evening after all)  good ole fashioned family time, he says with a wry smile…
It’s been good to talk….

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