Tuesday, January 17, 2012

(A Guest Blog by Will Langford)

At this very moment, there’s a good chance you have one in your hand, your pocket, backpack, purse or at least within arms reach. Or worse yet, you’re using it while watching television and reading this blog right now. That’s right, I’m talking about cell phones. Mass-manufactured, portable plastic pods once heralded as the “greatest leap forward” in modern technology. “Imagine being able to talk to anyone, anywhere, without a cord or cable to tie you down. In the car, on the bus- you’ll be able to communicate everywhere!”

Everywhere is right. Text messaging, e-mail, internet, all at the tips of our fingers- it seems virtually impossible not to be linked-in in one way or another. To that effect, at every turn, we’re enticed into yet another media by which we can “participate” in whatever whim is on the national pulse. “That’s right, just use hash tag #Beiber2012 and you can be part of the on-going Beiber-Nation conversation! 

Kon-ver-sey-shuhn. From its Latin roots, all the way up until that fatal moment when the Finnish Matti Makkonen (credited with the invention of texting) dipped his hand into the mobile media market, “conversation” has implied orality, spoken word, the face-to-face exchange of words and ideas. That time has come and gone…haywire. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of wallowing in the modern matrix of tech toys, twitter and walking with my head down so I can text with two hands on the QWERTY keyboard of my EVO Shift. I have well over two thousand friends on facebook. I am definitely guilty of watching TV with my laptop atop my lap and texting all at once. That doesn’t mean I prefer it.

If someone knocked on your door right now, I’d wager that you’d be pretty surprised if it weren’t the mailman. Maybe, like me, you’d even be surprised if your phone rang, as opposed to the chirp of the text message we’ve grown so used to. “Can I call you later?” “Mind if I stop by sometime? I’ll text when I’m on my way.” Remember when people just called or stopped by? Yeah, sometimes your apartment/house was a bit on the messy side, but I’ll bet you appreciated the company. Lets bring it back.

If you do a little web roving, you’ll see that yet another craze is sweeping the nation, a game called “Phone-Stacking”. Here’s a craze I’m totally in line with. When you’re out for dinner with friends, stack your phones on the center of the table at the beginning of your meal. Whoever picks up their phone to check it for any reason (sorry Mom/Dad!) picks up the check. BOOM. A lesson in etiquette. I think the blogger who came up with that idea has her finger on the pulse of something important. 

We might never go back to the days where face-to-face communication reigns supreme over technology. Talking in person just isn’t as fast, as neatly-wrapped, or accessible (in some cases) as its counterpart. Face-to-face communication is…

If you’ve forgotten what its benefits are, here’s the perfect opportunity to let the next message you send read: “Hey, why don’t we meet up and talk about this? It might be…”


Born in Detroit, MI, Will Langford, also known as Will “The Poet” Langford, is a graduate of Michigan State University and a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University. Will was recently featured in Time Magazine Online (“The Poetry of Detroit”). 

You can check out more of Will’s writing on his YouTube channel

and follow him on Twitter!



Old Timer said...

Couldn't agree more. This year at Christmas time, 2 of my nephews were sitting next to each other on the couch and, you guessed it, they were texting each other rather than talking! Oral conversation could become a lost art!

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