May 2, 2009

The Chattering Class: Getting to Know You...or is it Just Me?

Living life out loud with email, crackberries, Facebook and blogs allows for instantaneous communications. Suddenly the introverted can be extraverted and the extraverted become even more "out".

Through all this talking, which some may consider chatter and others perceive as monologues, (is that not what this blog really is?) a new expectation for communications has been set. You put the word out...and you expect something back, immediately. Ping. Pong.

But then there are those who receive and do not return. Perhaps that's the majority of folks. Those who observe, absorb, consume and navigate the chatter. Is this a dysfunctional yet symbiotic relationship between the extras and intros?

As you can imagine, my circle of close peeps likes to ping and pong all day long. We can carry on a conversation, or email thread, for weeks. A single word back and forth keeps us in-the-know.

Chatting, in real-time and in-person with Leah during our Sacramento road trip, we realized that we are similar when it comes to getting to know someone. When we meet a person that catches our fancy we want to "know all". Romantic, platonic, professional...we are intrigued and invested in building resonance towards shared understanding. We're communicators and connectors. I'm really noticing this in the Bay Area. So many interesting people and so easy to stay linked-in, met-up, face-booked, blogged, emailed, text-ed and twittered.

So when you send out a communication and the ping goes un-ponged, you hit a black hole of communications. Confusion. Is this how our lives use to be? Face-to-face, letters, phone conversations? That was so 2006.

Electronic "Hellooooo....." Silence.

Is this a zen silence? A living in the moment? Sometimes I believe that the crackberry and icrack (my new term for iphone) are living in the moment. But is electronic communications really being "present" or the complete opposite? Are we passively-actively hiding behind these devices when we could be connecting in real-time? How often are we in a room filled with people who aren't talking or interacting with each other but are actively chatting on their devices? Where is the receiver? They could be sitting at the desk next to you or far off in the UK.

We've created a universe in which we are chatting in real time across the planet. It is a new "class" of people. You are hearing it here first, the "Chattering Class."

Are we replacing the cool touch of plastic instead of the warm touch of flesh? The linearity of letters making words instead of the spark of eye contact and reading lips? The sounds of clicking keys instead of hearing someone else breathing?