It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize how much you love them.

~ Agatha Christie ~

What Communication?

October 31st, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 48 secs

Don't ask me. I just want to know what's going on.

Text me! Give me a call. Shoot me an email.

The scope for communication is colossal. You can talk, tweet, text, post, blog, video, and even meet. But despite the scope of the communication explosion, we aren’t saying much.

Phones ring in cars, trains, stores, and streets.

“Where are you?”,Whatcha doin’?” and “How long will you be?”  dominate discussion. It’s as if we’ve taken huge leaps in technology but only baby steps in communication.

Let me back up a bit. By communication I mean, what we share together.  There isn’t much said that can’t be expressed more simply using traditional means. So whilst we are being told this is the amazing era of communication, I’m not so sure.

Perhaps I’m thinking quality and the people selling stuff are thinking quantity.

To be fair, there’s plenty of room for both. We like to check where our loved ones are and what they’re doing. Like birds in a tree that keep on chirping to each other, our need to communicate presence is a priority.

Travel on any Japanese commuter train and you will see people crammed into each carriage, busily texting in silence. Walk through any mall and shoppers will probably be talking, texting, and calling more than they’ll be shopping. Wherever you go, communication comes first.

With options galore, I believe now is the time for a new leap in our communication. Where we share our thoughts more richly and embroider our ideas with greater clarity. It’s time we made communication quality first priority. So that we make a point of asking more questions, sharing more big ideas, and saying extra with the same amount of words.

This is not a new idea. The cantankerous Nineteenth Century French novelist, Gustave Flaubert, noticed technological advance had little effect on quality.

Believing the invention of the steam-train allowed people to communicate stupidity more easily than ever, he thought it was poor progress. As was the fashion for serious-minded types of the time, simple things were considered superficial. Anything worthwhile, therefore, had to be serious, intense, and a little bit miserable.

But to me, good communication promotes happiness. Somewhere between hi-tech convenience and high-minded ideas there’s a happy medium. A place where we express: our care for those we love, our hopes, fears, and greatest thoughts.

As we keep moving and communicating through daily life we can remember a timely word from Flaubert himself:

“There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.”  

Now that is worth texting.


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