On January 17, 2018, Britain appointed a minister for loneliness. This appointment lends credence to a phenomenon noted by author Sherrey Turkle, that we live in a world in which we are “alone together.”
Since the advent of technology, we have been able to connect with one another in so many ways. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a part of the daily lives of many people. It is generally harder to connect with someone online than with someone you’ve met in real life. This is why face-to-face communication eliminates the disconnect found in online relationships and helps to curb loneliness.
Face-to-face conversations ensure the emotional subtext of a conversation is not lost. James Borg, an authority on psychology and body language, words make up only 7% of conversations, while the remaining 93% is body language. Social interaction creates bonds through physical contact; it can be as simple as a handshake, a hug or a sense of touch, all of which allows us to connect and to show empathy in different ways. Something you cannot expect to achieve through a virtual platform. Body language creates a deeper connection and feeling, and forms an emotional bond, unlike an online conversation where body language is absent. A simple hug can be all it takes to really connect with someone.
John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka said that “if content is king, then conversation is queen.” People can be and say anything online, but in a face-to-face situation, “your words are your bond” and you can’t hide from your true self. Psychologists have raised an important issue; we are a generation that is forgetting how to talk to each other. Online conversations allow you time to think about what you are going to say, unlike speaking face-to-face, where you merely react to what is said. It is becoming increasingly apparent that a lot of people cannot maintain a conversation for long periods of time. If we are to preserve the vital art of communication, then face-to-face conversations are a necessity.