Maintaining Your Humanity When Communicating Online

conversationI was on the phone, talking to my friend, Ben.  This is something we’ve done for 35 years.  We kept talking over each other; interrupting the flow of the conversation. It was frustrating.  I was the main perpetrator so I apologized.

Ben feels we’ve lost the ability to converse, collectively speaking, due to the heavy use of computers. People no longer talk to each other. They communicate via devices. He pointed out, when you’re texting, it’s just you, talking. You’re communicating something but you’re not listening. It was an astute observation.

I quickly recalled various, recent conversations I’d had.  Specifically, I’ve been talking to doctors and having this same issue. I resolved right then, to try to fix it.

Ben doesn’t think it can be fixed. He may be right about that in the big picture, but I hope he’s not right in the personal or the individual picture. I can see it now. There is something I want to say, so I get my device and I say it.  Somehow, I have to find a way to alter this.  Fast, before my voice becomes indistinguishable from AI, which also answers questions that weren’t asked.

I’ve maintained this site for nearly 20 years. If I think about it, more and more, people seem like they’re yelling to make their point. It’s like a smackdown or a slap ‘cross the face. I would not want to get on the phone with a person like this and I am going to be trying very hard not to be a person like this.

Can you see long-term effects of so much of our communication taking place via a device?

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Maintaining Your Humanity When Communicating Online — 26 Comments

  1. Yes.
    Years ago, I read something (probably by Rob Hand, I think) about Gemini & Mercury types, that we must focus on learning to listen – more than expressing our thoughts… This means, me, because my natal Moon is in Gemini.
    But really, it’s all of us, I think.

  2. I think you hit a vein.
    I think I see the mad every day,as mad makes power,Sad? Well that’s depressing
    It is so beautiful outside
    It’s hard to think

  3. Last year I had a conversation with Dad about this. He complained that my two youngest sisters don’t like to talk on the phone. They prefer to text. I told him I don’t like to talk on the phone either, because usually I never know when to jump into the conversation and tend to speak out of turn, talk over the other person repeatedly.

    He said, “It’s these stupid digital phones now. We never had this problem with analog phones” and then he explained why. There’s a one-two second gap when using a modern phone. (In other words, what you say is not what the other person hears, yet.) So you hear silence and think it’s safe to jump in and talk, when it’s not.

    He’s spent decades working as systems programmer, so he’s had a long time to observe technology trends and how they affect society as a whole. (He has nothing to do with social media and has stated that it’s a “a scourge on society”.)

  4. I miss seeing people’s faces when they talk. It’s too easy to misinterpret people on a device.

    We are dependent on our devices now (is the word “vice” supposed to be part of that word?) so don’t make the effort to do things in person as much.

      • Agree guys, concerning seeing face, eyes and body language. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve experienced or witnessed misinterpretation. I feel hesitant posting sometimes. I’ve avoided social media, thankfully.
        Valuable info shared by NMC on digital network.

  5. My college friend and I live on opposite sides of the U.S. We used to talk almost everyday, but life has become very busy. Recently, we met for a weekend in the “middle” a state halfway between our residences. We both got rooms, went to dinner (we both love Chinese food). We got foot massages, watched Animal Planet and talked about life. Some of my friends think we are nuts to get on a plane fly 2.5 hours for one weekend night to catch-up. But what great energy, what great fun! It is all about HOW we come together, the ground we walk on, the air we breath, the food and drink we share that provides our bodies water and fire.
    Face to Face we balance each other.

  6. This is something my triple sag has been struggling with and I’ve noticed for a bit. It is so easy for others to just talk right over others and we don’t stop and Really listen or ‘communicate’ in a “two-way street” sort of way. So I’ve been working on this for a bit now. I’ve got mercury conjunct mars in my 1st, so I’m very guilty of this, it’s a challenge, but I’m built for challenges, so it’s all good. It’s definitely not easy, especially with both the world moving so fast and technology being used for communicating and all. But it’s also had many benefits, I feel like when I do stop and listen to her, I learn so much more on a much deeper level and that is very satisfying to all my pluto aspects; so a reward in and of itself.

  7. I think there have been communication issues since the beginning of time. Language barriers, distance, etc. Letters used to have to travel across the ocean on a boat, not long ago. Now thats creates a lag in the convo. In my view, its better than its ever been.

    Now the actual content of whats being communicated could probably use an upgrade.

  8. I had to learn this as a person with a huge 1st house stellium. Yelling makes me come off like I’m unstable and immature!

    Thank God my 1st house stellium is in Libra though.

  9. Welcome back, Elsa!? I ,too, have noticed this a LOT recently. I was wondering if there was something astrological causing this and was hoping it was temporary. Lately, conversations in person seem like quickly revolving doors that I had to jump in when there was a slight pause otherwise it becomes me just standing there nodding while someone talks at me? I shall do my part and recognize when I do this and maybe gently remove myself from one-sided conversations in the future. Thanks for the timely post.

  10. Also, I appreciate this point of view you have brought up that technology is affecting our conversational abilities. I recently read that since we don’t talk much on the phone or in person anymore, for some our throat chakras have become imbalanced. This in turn creates even more talking at each other and less listening.?

  11. I imagine that a long-term effect of this so-called communication might be that people feel lonlier and lonlier.
    I say so-called because one-way, or no-way convo’s either face to face or by devices.
    You come away from a converstation where nothing was really exchanged feeling like you’ve wasted time & energy, even if just listening.
    Nearly all the IRL people I know are non-stop talkers. I rarely interrupt them so I feel just lika a giant chewed-off ear.

  12. A high school in Iowa began no-phone Friday’s at lunch, after the principle noticed everyone’s heads bent down to their phones. “Conversation is one of the most human and humanizing things that we can do.” Kids are given a colored card designating which table they are to sit at, and then there’s a “conversation starter” at the table.

    “You learn how to listen to people. You learn how to empathize with them,” he said.
    Students said they think a phone-free lunch hour, spent talking with new friends, is helping their school to become a kinder place.
    “People are more nice to each other now because they got to know each other at lunch,” Kanke said.
    “I think people have a lot more respect for others,” Weick said.”


  13. So much is communicated with body language, face and vocal tone. You just don’t get that with messaging. I say more and am more dramatic in the written form. I react quicker and am more prone to be sarcastic/teasing when not facing the listener!

  14. I have a different take on this in that, I don’t think, or it doesn’t appear so for me that texting and whatnot is a problem. Like, if I text someone when they are coming and they say they are at the bridge, I mean… it works right?

    I think it is interesting how the online discourse with people you don’t know can be so full of conflict and you don’t even realise. Case in point: I talked to a women online in a very right wing newspaper forum explaining her viewpoint and I just nailed her to the wall with little effort. So she’s saying things like people are disadvantaged if they have unseen mental health issues and I, and others, managed to get it to: You support the initiation of force, i.e. taxation, at gunpoint to support your social programs, the restriction of free speech etc. etc. A lot of technical arguments and basically no heart. I wonder if that woman will be sleeping so well tonight. I am trying to remove myself as far as possible from these conversations because it is a complete waste of time.

    I text my sister asking her political views in the upcoming election in the UK, and she comes back with something similar, not the same but similar and I responded with something along the line of ‘yes so and so wants to vote like that, the (even more globalist hard left) candidate wants to keep open obscure private music venues in y town. What do you think of ‘x’ politician?’

    I might as well have added ‘shnookums’!

    Also, in general when I deal with women, delicate 18 year olds or dancing with women 60+ I have to be physically careful with on a difficult dancing move. There is a vulnerability that I am aware of, that I am just not online, sometimes I deliberately maintain eye contact at certain times to assure safety. You do not have conversations about ‘hard’ matters with people that you are also being careful/ kind with. It’s just not within reach of your thought patterns.

    To summarise, online hardness doesn’t translate into real life ‘for me’. But the mostly heartless communication on the net is a waste of time.

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