Comment or Converse?19 May 2012
“Social media is accelerating. People no longer have conversations. They just comment.”
I didn’t expect dead-on social-media commentary from Bobcat Goldthwait, but there it is.
First things first: it’s true.
I’ve been blogging for almost a decade, and yes: if I find something worth mentioning, now I can post a link on Twitter or Facebook with a brief comment, rather than writing a whole post. It’s reflective of a larger trend. How many more texts do you send, versus telephone calls? How many more IMs do you send, versus detailed emails?
But second things second: is it good or bad?
Is it helping us that we communicate in such epigrammatic snippets? Oscar Wilde might have loved it, but is it doing us any favors?
Sure, it’s good.Â
It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s quick. It’s accessible. It’s immediate gratification. It’s talking like you’re in a snappy scripted narrative. It’s convenient.
But it’s not that great.
It really isn’t what you could call a thorough, actual conversation, though. Those involve more than a quick showboating. They involve thought, and more than that, listening. Reacting to each other’s thoughts, and sharing those reactions. That’s conversing.Â Microblogging is more like throwing out a message in a bottle. There’s little context, there’s delayed response if any.
Next time you’re going to make a pithy comment, consider: would it be worth thinking a little more thoroughly and saying something with a little more substance?Â