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August 04, 2006

"Oh, New York City, you talk a lot...let's have a look at 'ya!"

A Little Face Time Maybe?

In another month, and for 4 days or so, I'll be in and around New York City, a city I love, especially in decent weather. As usual, I'll see people I have known for years. But I'll also be meeting in the flesh people for the first time I've talked with for months, or even years, only on the phone.

And this will happen: if I have never seen his or her picture, I may think that he or she is, say, a tall, dark-haired 30ish human--a definite image I conjure up during phone talks. If after meeting that person it turns out I've been really talking all this time to a short blonde 50ish person, it doesn't change any mental images long-term. I will still revert back the tall, dark-haired 30ish image after I get back home and talk to her or him again on the phone. With e-mails, it's worse; even if I have formed a picture, only a partial personality comes across in those many back and forths before I meet my pen pal.

Until I meet him or her face-to-face, nothing is enough. Meanwhile, the world still changes rapidly as we speak and type. What's next to make us efficient yet isolated and numb? Do we talk to each other enough with our live human voices? Do we see each other enough with our eyes, "in real time"? What has all this fabulous technology done to render obsolete important human energies, chemistries and nuances to work together and solve problems? So maybe "vibes" is not so silly an idea.

Work, like life, is a social experience. What are we losing these days?

Posted by JD Hull at August 4, 2006 08:12 AM

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