Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conversation, Communication: Why Such a Challenge?

Having been silent for some time now, due to time restraints, it is my intention to reenter the electronic environment of the blog. My re-entrance will focus on a subject that I have been interested in as I wander through blogdom. Primarily, the ability on blogs to hold conversation, communication and why it is such a challenge.

Conversation can be as difficult face to face as it is when using the printed word on a blog. Time passes between entries and although it does not happen on my blog, on others, that passage of time may mean the entry of 20 more thoughts all challenging, agreeing or disagreeing with what was said. At least when face to face, the idea that there can only be one speaker at a time usually rules the field. It is quite difficult to hear two speakers at once and understand their points of view. But on the blogs, this oftentimes happens. Multiple views are espoused and it may end up that many threads are being chased either in respect to the main idea or not. To approach blogs with the idea that conversation will be the same as when face to face or on the telephone reveals the naivety of the one who would do such. This mode of interaction, though not here on this blog, usually involves many sub-conversations all taking place at once and even consists of a few persons who attempt to be engaged in all the conversations at once. Surely, this calls for skill and some manage to do so and do it well. But for many of us, it would be wise to stay on topic or at least on a single thread before entangling ourselves in the conversations of others. Also, wisdom would dictate that one read the prior conversation before jumping in with both feet.

But just because conversation is taking place, is it right to assume communication is taking place. Communication does not imply agreement with what is spoken but is the writer actually writing what is meant AND are the listeners hearing without rose colored glasses, the true meaning and wording. Our biases sometimes…often??? shade what is said. But we have no excuse for letting our biases distort what was written. Words on a page are what they are. If such words are vague, we would be wise in either inquiring further into their meaning or just remaining silent. Personally, I like to ask lots of questions even if I use them as a tool to expose a weakness in another’s statements. AND when words are simply heard, for example an online sermon, one would be wise to separate their assumptions about meaning from what was actually said. The hearer does have the option of inquiring of the original speaker as to what was actually intended if there is room for disputation.

Blogdom can be a very useful tool of conversation and communication provided we interact with undivided attention AND a true desire to understand and be understood. After all, God spoke to and through men and prophets, who wrote that Word in preparation for the Incarnate Word and then once again, spoke to apostles who wrote the Word about the Incarnate Word because He desires to be understood.


selahV said...

Luke: I don't understand. Can you repeat that? :)

I think the hardest thing with bloggin in comment streams is that some presume to know what another means by a statement and attacks accordingly. Others ask a question, not to communicate, but to simply bait. I've found myself not even bothering to comment anymore because the topic is ignored and some just want to pound, bully, snipe and snark. No communication or conversation is intended.

Good to see you back. selahV

Luke said...

Mrs. V,
I really do not like the baiting that takes place at times when it is simply meant to snarl the conversation. But it can be quite effective in making a point when it is used correctly. Falling into the baited snare has just as much to do with the eager beaver running ahead of his wisdom. But in gentle conversation when one is genuinely trying to learn or understand, I agree, baiting is over the top. When it is the former, it depends upon my mood if I take the bait. When it is the latter, I have little patience as well.

But then again, it does depend upon why one has entered into the discussion and bloggers have the option of abstaining(ignoring) if the field is too muddy. Personally, time is too precious of a commodity for me to enter the field just to play in the mud.