Much of today’s pop non-fiction is obsessed with conversations. That is, the lack of them. The face-to-face type.
Blame quickly shifts to the Millennials who grew up with technology in hand. And then extends to everyone and anyone who works for a living, over-relying on social media and smartphones, on apps and e-widgets.
Yet it ain’t all the fault of IT. Nor can we point fingers to specific cohorts, because, truth! everyone indulges. It’s just easier to communicate with things other than our mouths, our voices, our hearts.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, a Yale professor of computer science, half tongue in cheek and half not, proposes a Talknet for seniors. That is, a 365/24/7 system that allows elderfolks the ability to tune into any dialogue going on around the world. His plan is simple: Five choices on screen, each with no more than ten participants. Start your own conversation. Or wait for others to leave. Or, quite simply, listen in with computer speakers.
It’s an imaginary concept that could work, quite well, in corporate settings. And not just for seniors. It would train employees in the art and craft of talking. It might be a good substitute for some learning and development courses (with apologies to those professionals). And it could replace the communities of practice, the Yammers of the world, and corporate jam sessions (among others), helping workers realize that there’s much to be gained in connecting and relating live.
The fault, dear Brutus …