Point of View: Speaking to thousands, yet talking with only a few
by JONI B. HANNIGAN

Article Date: Jan 9, 2013

There are some days I feel like I’ve spoken to thousands of people and yet communicated with only a few.

Sure, I’ve used my Twitter and Facebook accounts to express various sentiments, commented on others’ postings and pictures, checked in on Pinterest, and clicked on “Like” to show my appreciation. But rarely do I pick up the phone and make a personal phone call anymore where feedback is instantaneous, pauses are meaningful, inflection and tone are part of the bigger picture, and laughter replaces letters like “LOL.”

This started to bother me over the holidays and so I’ve had some mara­thon phone calls. Just recently after speaking to my sister who lives in the northwest, I realized we had spoken for over three hours. I don’t regret a minute.

There is a certain cadence to a lengthy phone call, and once I’m in, I’m in. I like social networking and realize its value, but there’s something very satisfying about sharing life with a loved one with whom we haven’t spoken to in a while.

About half way into our conversation, I found myself wandering aimlessly around my kitchen. I poured myself a bowl of Frosted Flakes. At one point, I almost told my sister I needed to eat, but then I became absorbed in what she was saying. The Frosted Flakes waited. Intentional communication is a two-way street and needs willing parties. Waiting for breakfast was a small price to pay for such an important conversation.

Someone tweeted today they spoke with an old friend from 20 years ago and it felt like it was just yesterday. Good communication is like that. It’s like a thread that weaves though several layers of our lives to bring us into tighter relationship. 

My conversation with my sister was like that. Too often I seem to find plenty of time to devote to social networking, but I fail to carve out enough time for long, satisfying conversations on the phone. Three hours may seem extreme, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend three hours chatting with her at lunch or enjoying an afternoon of catching up over coffee in my living room.

I’m hopeful this year to find more opportunities to speak with people God has put into my life, to share in rich conversations—if not face to face—at least voice to voice.  

While Facebook and other social networking has brought me closer than ever to people I wouldn’t otherwise have been in touch with through the years, I don’t want to find that even while my Klout score steadily increases, my communication with those I love lacks careful time and attention.

 

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