I was at my daughter's ski lesson this morning and was overhearing a conversation that was happening next to me between two moms. "I am having the hardest time getting my three year old son to eat anything, he would live off of milk if he could" response from the other mother "I am lucky, my child eats everything". There was a pause and a moment of admitted awkwardness between the two women. I had to wonder if the conversation that had just taken place was a direct result of social media and the way that we have been conditioned to speak to one another.
When we converse via Facebook, twitter, even texting or messaging services, we use a form of conversation that is more proactive than reactive. When I was learning the art of social conversation as a child I was taught that you listen, observe and respond or react to what others are saying so that they feel heard, engaged and respected. With the influx of social media and the majority of our conversations taking place between two devices rather than two people there seems to be a sense of proactive conversation. Rather than one person responding to the other person there are two people stating their own facts in parallel about the same topic. In my opinion this form of communication blocks our ability to connect with others and leaves us feeling judged, ridiculed, competitive or even belittled. I challenge all of us to rejoin the art of reactive conversation in order to support, respect, learn from and enjoy conversation with one another.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.