Archive for Friday, May 3, 2013

Letter: Communication

May 3, 2013


To the editor:

I am confident that we can agree the community ideals marked by neighbors and friends gathered on the front porch in open agreement and disagreement on all life topics and engaging face-to-face is all but dead. In past Rockwellian times, the coffeehouse became the dominant forum for community debate and the sharing of everyday life events. Sadly, this is changing as well.

The editor of “Espresso,” a free newspaper limited to coverage of life in coffeehouses throughout greater San Diego, was being interviewed recently by National Public Radio. When asked what he thought the greatest change in the life of area coffeehouses over the last year was, he readily said, the noise level. People used to talk. Now, although many come in groups, they engage silently with their laptops, not with one another. The editor and I share the experience of being asked to be quieter by our neighbors stroking their keyboards.

Wow. The local coffeehouse isn’t what it used to be — isn’t what it is supposed to be. Maybe the local answer is in the opening of our new library serving coffee. Leave the coffeehouse to those of us that value “sharing thoughts, stories, perspectives and everyday life with animation, conviction and love of community.”

Maybe it is time we examine what we are losing, individually and as a community, as we become increasingly obsessed with “glass and keyboard.” Let’s not lose the most valuable skill known to the human race: the ability to reach one another and community through face-to-face, verbal communication.


Paul R Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

Good point, but we are rapidly approaching a world where "the glass" is real and what used to be called the "real world" is a fantasy.

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 8 months ago


I'd encourage you to read "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge or "Ready Player One" by Earnest Cline. Rainbow's End paints a picture of a world where virtual and real overlap.

"Ready Player One" paints a bleaker picture (be it in 1980's day glow pink) of a world where we abandon the real to live in a virtual Oasis.

I really enjoyed both, but believe strongly that we are headed for the world that Vinge paints.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 8 months ago

I love this letter.

I cannot remember anyone describing the value of communication in this forum in this way.

I did not support the expense for the new library at this time but I hope the benefits prove me completely wrong. Good coffee will certainly help.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, the irony here is that I am reading about the value of face to face communication on my computer. I think it all depends on who you are face to face with and the irritation factor.

I like communicating on the Internet, texting, Skyping, Twiting and Facebooking because it means you can have a conversation with people all over the world and get viewpoints you could not do otherwise.

buffalo63 4 years, 8 months ago

I have a Facebook conversation that has gone on for several days as each of us have various schedules, but the interaction can still continue, even as we live several states away from each other. Face-to-face would be great, but this still keeps us contected.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 8 months ago

too bad you didn't tweet this to all those who really needed to see this.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 8 months ago

Me too! Twitter is your friend. You can talk face to face on Skype.

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