Nov 24, 2012

Talk to Me

It has become popular to decry the current state of affairs in which people don't communicate properly anymore.  Articles have been written extolling old-fashioned verbal communication and bemoaning the fact that today, people no longer communicate in meaningful ways.  Of course they are unhappy with the texts and emails that pass for communication these days.  A variation on this theme is the complaint that people no longer write letters and how meaningful letter writing used to be, how people looked forward to receiving a letter and kept precious letters and how they are a valuable source of information of life long ago.

To respond to the first complaint, about verbal communication, well, letter writing has been around for millenia and people didn't complain about it! It was understood that written communications were sometimes the only way to communicate.  They also have an advantage over verbal communication in that you can write a draft, review what you wrote, correct and refine it and then have the reader give it his full attention which is not as likely with verbal communication.

As to the complain that people no longer write letters, yes, with phone calls being so cheap and cell phone ubiquitous, kids and parents are not writing letters to one another when in camp and Eretz Yisrael, the way they used to.  Then again, there were always those who were writers and those who weren't.  The fact that phone calls are cheap won't stop a writer from keeping a diary, blog or writing emails.

When I said I have contacted people via email that I wouldn't otherwise be communicating with, someone said to me - that's because you used to write before the advent of emails.  Those who are born to the email/texting/cell phone generation, are not as likely to write in meaningful ways.  That might be true.  But I think in other ways, we are more connected, knowing what is going on (sometimes more than I would like) with Jews all over the world through daily frum news sites.  It's different these days, and like most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages.

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