July 18, 2018 | ° F

Remember value of verbal conversations


Cellphones are as ubiquitous as air in the United States — and for some, they’re about as necessary as oxygen, as well. But whereas phones began as a way to hold conversations across great distances, text messaging has quickly taken over verbal conversation as most people’s primary use of cellphones. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, adults send 41.5 text messages on average a day. Young adults, who are those aged 18-24, send a whopping 109.5 text messages on average. Even more telling is the fact that, of those who send more the 50 texts a day on average, 55 percent say they’d rather text than talk.

We here at The Daily Targum are certainly not Luddites. We have our phones as well, and many of us probably fall in line with the average number of messages per day for young adults. However, we believe there’s a special quality to verbal conversations — especially those conducted in person — which text messages cannot quite match. Verbal conversation is more intimate. It fosters stronger, closer connections than text messaging. Often, it’s more practical as well: Why confine yourself to the stilted back and forth of text messaging when you could conduct a full, fluid, lively conversation verbally? Plus, verbal conversation teaches valuable interpersonal skills, which are necessary in plenty of situations. You cannot text the kid behind the checkout counter at the grocery store. Although, maybe one day, you could. Who knows?

Text messaging does have its benefits, of course. It is great for sending quick reminders or alerting people to important information when you’re in a situation where speaking is prohibited. They can also serve as memory aids — say, for example, you need someone’s address. Rather than trying to memorize it, you can have them shoot you a quick text.

The fact remains, however, that technology like text messaging is a type of progress, and in the process of progress, something of the old ways is lost — sometimes irretrievably. Usually, the thing lost is something we could do without, like a disease or a discomfort. Verbal communication, though, is not one of those things that we can stand to lose. Human connection and the societies that rise out of those connections just wouldn’t be the same without it. As long as we remember that, then the rise of text messaging is no problem at all.

By The Daily Targum

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