We’re learning how to talk to each other all over again.

If you’re not currently under lockdown then it’s likely that you either have been or are going to be at some stage. Gathering together is out and social distancing is in, so how do we stay connected with our friends and family? In the digital age there are so many tools at our disposal that connecting is easy but has the quality of our connections changed?

My friends and I have been using Zoom to chat to each other and stay in touch. I didn’t know about Zoom until my friends invited me. Whether you are using Zoom or some other app one thing is noticeable, it’s the same thing that made me dread conference calls with work colleagues. The broken conversations, false starts and talking over each other make these kinds of conversations painfully slow and awkward at best.

When you have to communicate this way everyday though you get better at it. Practice makes perfect.

The timbre of our conversations has changed, they have slowed and become more open and more thoughtful.

Now all of the participants speak in their turn while the others actively listen and allow them to finish before adding their own thoughts. We pay much more attention to what each other is saying, and we think much more about the meaning and nuance of what they are trying to say. In a normal setting like a cafe or a club everybody speaks over each other not really listening, blurting out thoughts as they come over the top of each other so that they are heard. Our online conversations simply can’t work in this fashion and we have had to make changes. It’s kind of like sitting in a circle and only the person with the talking stick may speak.

***Update. Since writing this article my friends and I have stopped using Zoom due to privacy concerns and a lack of security when using the Zoom platform but we are still face-timing regularly.


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