Living in the Digital Bubble

My daughter turned to me over the weekend when we were picking up her boyfriend at his house for a visit and said, “I just sent him a text to come out. You know, Dad, we don’t knock on the door anymore.”

Well, the times are a-changing, yes. Still, I cannot get past the idea of the strength of verbal or face-to-face communication. Yesterday, one of our able staff members said she wanted to speak with someone on the phone because that would be more clear, and she would get a better response. Yes!

I have a new term: “interaction avoidance.” This is the reliance on digital technology to waltz past that messy speaking stuff and email, text and tweet your way into and out of almost every human interaction.

Interaction avoidance makes it easy for you — no messy discussion, no debate, no possible negotiation. Just endless open-ended missives with little or no meaning or context. Yes, a perfect world.

But, alas, there is a Dark Side to the non-human interaction experience. I believe it has something to do with intonation, nuance and silence. These — well, at least according to my college speech teachers — are the real tip-offs to reading people and understanding their position, displeasure or acceptance.

It’s darned hard to get the itty-bitty inflections or hesitancy in an IM.

There is a suitable place for texting and digital dialogue. To me, however, it doesn’t fit when it comes to communicating with a client about a problematic invoice or informing a friend of a “disconnect” between the two of you. And, for goodness’ sake, it’s a shame to go out and blow a hundred bucks on dinner and have two people sitting across from each other in romantic candlelight texting their friends. “Sorry, honey, I’d look deeply into your eyes, but I want to make sure I get this last email out to my office in San Francisco before they close.”

Give me a call if you think this is on-point. Or text me if you disagree.

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