In this age of mass communication it is easy to fall into a muted world of anagrams, symbols, emojis, and reinventing the English language.  With every tweet or text or email we are replacing the sound of a human voice.

Is the Art of Conversation being silenced?

The sound of someone’s voice is nice to hear.  It inspires real understanding. Body language lets the senses become engaged to the warmth or even coldness of the actual words that resonates the true feelings of that person.  Words are thoughts, the tone are feelings.

Unfortunately social media is definitely changing the way we communicate, which can leave a false impression as to our perception of the sender: negative or positive.  With every post via photos or unending updates the sender leaves a digital footprint; a personal brand.  In this vast cyber silence, is the persona real or not?

I understand the need for social media.  It is important in my photography business.  It is a way to pass on information and possibly influence others to show up for one of my gallery shows or pass on accolades with each award.  More important to me is the chance to discuss my work with others as they look at my art work.  I want to hear the emotion in their voices and communicate my thought process. I am curious as to what draws them into the imagery.  In many ways, art is a form of communication.

I am amazed at the pace at which the change in the demand for social media has occurred!  Everyone has a device in their hands which means they are connected anywhere, anytime.  The need is massive for the business world as the desire to connect leads to sales and growth.  It is valuable in that it is a way to share information, to interact and in some cases get a sense of fulfillment and nurture relationships by staying in touch.

I am a people watcher.  My favorite place is the airport where there is a mingling of cultures and fast cadence.  Recently I spent the night at the Atlanta Airport which is a Beast.  The throngs of humanity provided a plethora of entertainment – I was party to many business deals and enjoyed the endless jostling as others needed to charge their phones, iPads, and computers

As the evening wore on, I noticed a young family with tired hungry children in the same boat as me and offered to buy them dinner.  I was amazed when they pulled out their hand held devices and not once communicated.  Even the two year old was watching cartoons.

My favorite part of the evening was when I sat next to a man that I had chatted with in Dallas.  Our conversation was notably one of the best stories of unbelievable humanity I have ever heard.  He and his wife adopted babies of incarcerated women.  Some are addicted to meth.  He pulled out his phone to show me pictures of his very loved sons.  As he headed to his gate, he got a huge hug from a silver haired grandma thanking him for our conversation and his generosity of spirit!   My life would be a little less richer if I had not had the joy of that conversation.

One of the best gifts I have received was taught to me by a friend and scholar who is also a great conversationalist.  His intent is to listen to understand what we have to say instead of listening to reply, realizing we all think differently in the way we perceive the world.  Not once has he raised his voice.

Life holds meaning through communication.  It is our life line to better relationships.  But I only find it when I can meet one on one turning off the interferences by turning off our hand held devices and enjoy the sound of the voices I care for and long to be with.  In some cases it may involve airing it all out in order to heal.

When the majority of our day is spent in conversation with a ping pong on a screen instead of eye contact with a person, is the art of conversation being replaced by digital chatter?  Maybe it is time to unplug, to form meaningful relationships and connect with that person right in front of you and see the light in their eyes.

Deb Kreimborg

Photographic Artist

214 783 6578