The Lost Art of Having a Conversation

© C.J. Burton/Corbis

I was walking through St Julian’s recently when I heard someone shouting out a question that I’m all too familiar with; “Would you please put that phone down for two minutes?!” I turned around to see a woman and man, clearly on a date, glaring at each other across a restaurant table.

There’s no doubt about it, as a planet we have become collectively obsessed with social media in all of its forms. To be honest, I can’t think of any meals I’ve had recently when someone wasn’t tagging us all in a Facebook status, instagramming their food or tweeting an update on their location. And I won’t lie, I’m definitely usually doing one, if not all of those things.

So, is social media really a positive thing for communication? Of course, technically speaking, it allows us to connect in an instant with people on the other side of the world and is brilliant for its potential to allow us to reach a vast number of people at once. But are we sacrificing personal communication for the ability to communicate en mass to strangers?

A few months ago, the WIFI went down at home and my little brother came running down the stairs with pure terror on his face. ‘What am I supposed to do?’ he wailed, staring at me like I was mad when I suggested he could talk to me. ‘Talking is BORING’ he told me. And I think that’s the problem.

Without the aid of a newsfeed to scroll through or Pinterest boards to maintain, we are starting to struggle to have a chat. We’re all so used to multitasking that sitting down and having a conversation has become a challenge rather than a pleasure.

Let’s be realistic, social media isn’t going away any time soon and it has allowed us to change many things for the better. But I still can’t help thinking that life might be a little more magical if instead of broadcasting our ‘relationship status’ all over the internet, we were taking the time to write love letters and to develop our personal relationships face-to-face for a change.