Get Ready for the Slow-Conversation Movement
| Peter Klein |
Conversations today are constantly hijacked by digital fact-checkers. Every fact or statement, it seems, must be checked or augmented in real time with at-our-fingertips online information. We no longer trust each other to come up with good-enough facts or allow each other add colorful embellishment to our stories. Let me give a recent example to make my point. Over lunch the other day, I shared a story with my colleagues — the surreal experience of being accidently given a presidential suite at a Four Seasons Hotel. “This was an amazing room, probably 3000+ square feet with over-the-top appointments everywhere,” I said. No more than two minutes after making the statement, an associate checked on his BlackBerry the size of the presidential suite, correcting me that it was closer to 2000 square feet.
What happened to natural conversations, those based on what is already in our heads, unburdened by verfication? As the fast food movement has seen an opposing slow food movement take hold and shape, I predict we’ll soon see a similar desire for putting down for a moment all the “information enhancements” that come with mobile, digital-sparring tools.
That’s Anthony Tjan blogging at HBR. As someone who reads a lot of student papers — not to mention newspapers, magazines, and blogs — I tend to favor more fact checking, not less. But I see the point.
This is relevant for teaching and public speaking as well. I don’t record my classes, but I suspect that day is not far off (and some of my public talks are already preserved, for better or worse). Will professors be more rigid, overly cautious, less spontaneous, less natural, knowing that everything they say is ripe for verification, by current or future students (or administrators)? What is the appropriate balance between monitoring and governance and classroom spontaneity, ad hocery, and silliness?