The Art of Conversation

Having watched Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together presentation, which included some follow-up questions from Aleks Krotoski, I went in search of more on Turkle and tripped across a brief TechCrunch conversation she had with Andrew Keen where they specifically address privacy and Facebook:

Later, watching Turkle’s TED Talk, Connected, but alone?, and noting her comment that social media draws us to “sacrifice conversation for mere connection”, I was reminded somehow of Gary Nunn who writes for the Guardian’s “Mind your language” blog. A recent post by Gary titled Small talk? It’s not big and it’s not clever prompted me to tweet a suggestion that he needed to visit Ireland where “small talk is an art form”. He was gracious enough to reply. I was being a tad flippant, but I do feel that the art of conversation, whether trivial or consequential, has long since peaked and is descending at pace towards a monosyllabic base camp.

William F. Buckley Jr.

William F. Buckley Jr.
Source: Wikipedia

On the other hand, Jeff Jarvis and his plea for “publicness”, reminds me of one of my favorite authors and broadcasters, the late William F. Buckley Jr., who once quipped “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” Buckley, the founder of National Review, whose command of language and rhetoric is abundantly evident in his sublime essays and in his Firing Line debates, also humorously noted that he “would sooner be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand members of the faculty of Harvard.”