Passivity: Is it the new means of communication?

From a discussion about this article on Facebook-friending ones parents/children came the spin-off topic of:

Is modern communication becoming more passive?

I believe that, yes, there is a certain undercurrent of passivity in the way social networking sites are set up.  We post our “status” or a “tweet” that places our words into the world wide aether of the internet for our friends to find – and they don’t even have to reply, they can just hit “like” and communication has occurred.  This isn’t something I abhor for any reason, however, don’t get me wrong.  There are also plenty of means to personally message or email in direct ways, but I know for a fact when I have certain news to share my first reaction is to post it as my “status” on Facebook.  It’s easy, and I’m lazy.

So what’s my point?  Am I trying to stand up for the more traditional ways of direct communication?

To a point, yes.  I feel that there has to be a balance as we move forward in ease of communication, as with any technology.  A connection I made in my original argument was about e-books versus bound paper books.  I agree that e-books are useful, convenient and just generally nifty, but wouldn’t it be sad to lose bound books altogether?  I love the physical process of reading, like literally devouring page after page as I turn them with print-stained fingertips.  Going into a library to pick up volumes and scan the back synopsis, feeling the weight of it in my hand.

It’s a nostalgia thing.  The same reason I start to grin when someone says they’re sending me a card or writing me a letter.  And it’s true that I don’t feel that I could function in modern society without the technological conveniences, when they’re so good at making my life easier and faster.  But, equally, it’s not all just about functioning.  I don’t think I could be happy without occasionally slowing down and taking the time to dial a phone number, or curl up with a well-loved novel.

Even better would be to have a face-to-face conversation but I live in The Middle of Nowhere, Fife and none of you are within conversational distance.  Fie!

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