Commentary

Time for a ‘slow conversation’ movement

Published: 4:00 AM, January 25, 2013
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I could not be a bigger proponent of technology. My career has been built mostly around the Internet. My day job as a venture capitalist focuses on innovations in digital media and big data, as well as new models of business information and community connectivity.

I am nearly “always on’’ — responding to emails within minutes, while at the same time scanning some document or taking a call. I have a BlackBerry for work, and a Samsung Galaxy and an iPad for play.

But as we begin 2013, I cannot help feeling that the proliferation of new communication channels and “smart’’ devices has only further fragmented and strained the flow of real conversation. It has obscured content that is worth consuming.

As multitasking has morphed into “multicasting”, it is becoming less about trying to do more at the same time than about trying to tell more at the same time — we have all lost sight of what we are trying to optimise: Connectivity. In fact, it is quite clear that in many instances, our digital technologies have diluted the quality and relevance of our conversations.

We have to get back to real, authentic, live conversation. When you are trying to build lasting relationships and resolve conflicts, email, social networks and texts often just do not cut it. Speedy, frequent, high-volume communication usually does not equate with thoughtful, effective communication. Quantity of conversation cannot substitute for quality of conversation.

Here are three resolutions for 2013 that all swim against the mass-connectivity tide:

1. Focus on being present in the

moment, not recording it.

For many of us, it has become almost instinctual to announce, capture and share the special moments in our lives (and even the not-so-special ones). It is a 24/7 game of one-upmanship.

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