Conversation Basics: Starting One

In the age of so many forms of communication, the lack of knowing how to get into a conversation is glaring. What happened to asking questions of other people? While having Google at the ready has given us content at our fingertips, it has also limited our being able to communicate. Our conversations are often filtered through “I already know this” and if not, we can look it up quickly. How quickly? Considering that it takes 0.2 seconds to retrieve an answer in a single Google query according to the video, “Building Software Systems at Google and Lessons Learned” by Jeff Dean; it seems that information via the internet replaces human language relatively easily. The impact, however, is that we’ve taken ourselves out of the conversation.

There’s really no need to communicate with another person since we can look everything up! What could another person tell us that we can’t find the answer to in less than a half of a second? We are loners in a sea of technology; our preference is not to share our human experience, but to Google it. In our break with interactive communication, we have lost the ability to connect, to show empathy and to inspire.

Like gambling with plastic chips instead of dollar bills, the experience is different. An actual conversation requires actual presence in it; it requires free self-expression and thought. It also requires time — more than 0.2 seconds anyway.

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