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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Social Conversation

I had a lot of conversations today.

I mean, I started a lot of conversations today.

And I interrupted a lot of conversations today.

Almost every in-person, face-to-face, human voice-based interaction I participated in today got off to a good start, began to cover interesting, even essential topics and experiences, and then was interrupted. I don't know how stories ended. I want to know what was so encouraging about an encounter one of my conversation partners described but never had a chance to explain.

Moment after moment I stepped or got pulled away. "I'm sorry I have to go to my next commitment. I'm sorry we only got to talk for a minute." Worse even, the conversation that got started, the story begun, then the interruption came so absolutely we didn't even say, "We'll get together to talk again soon. Send me an email. Or, Let's finish this later." We cut our conversation off distractedly and turned to the next one.

None of these interruptions were due to social media. Facebook and Twitter didn't cut us off, faces in phones. We stood looking at each other, and then at other people standing around us.

In fact, many of the conversations - in their very existence, or the promised quality and content - were made possible through previously social-mediated encounters.

I don't miss the good old days of face-to-face, uninterrupted social conversation without distractions and interruptions. Because they never were. I do feel grateful for the good now days of social-mediated and face-to-face conversations because sharing words and sometimes images with each other, with a friend, new or old, is a balm, a bulwark, and a boon.

And, thinking back over today's interrupted conversations, I'm happy to remember your face, your voice, our connection.

Some days are for long, full and fulfilling conversations, and some are for quick snippets and starts. Most modes and media of communication can be used well for either kind of day, if we mean to connect with each other, and maybe if we remember a little Pete Seeger (or King Solomon, if you prefer).

Thanks for talking with me today. I'm sorry we got interrupted. I look forward to life-giving times of sharing more with you - hearing and telling - soon, however we can connect.

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