Life's journeys: Language, culture, communication

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From face-to-face, to Facebook

For the past 6 years I have been working as a freelance translator. I love the job and the flexibility it offers, but I am finding it increasingly hard to live in an increasingly autistic bubble. The lack of social interaction sometimes borders on the unbearable. Of the thirty some agencies I cooperate with on a regular basis, it is only with 2 or 3 that I have any “personal” contact at all: and even that is only by phone. Except for two people whose faces I have come across on social networks, I have no idea what my partners even look like. Nobody comes to my office because things can be solved more efficiently online.

Nothing irks me more than this constant talk of “communication”. How we supposedly live in an age of communication, how technological advances are making it easier to “communicate”, etc. etc.  Are they for real?!  (literally….)

Let’s have a (shallow) look at what communication is. What do counsellors and trainers tell us communication is?


In other… words 🙂 , it is only 7% WHAT we say, and 93% HOW we say it. That is real communication, communication that touches the heart.

Now you have a long hard look at social media and co. and tell me how can it be claimed that they improve communication, when most of it in fact restricts communication to text, i.e. to that measly 7%? Do you think people understand each other better? Do they feel better about themselves? In an earlier post I wrote about the most common sources of happiness, as identified by the specialists of the University Hospital for Psychiatry inUlm, Germany. Smiles and good relationships were among the most important. Real, positive exchanges of energy and emotion between people. Is that really possible online?

How many times has social media induced such a feeling of complacency (oh, I have 2374 virtual “friends”), that we no longer take the time and effort to actually go out and meet a real person, in the flesh? How has it improved relationships? Out here in the Western world not a day goes by that I do not pinch myself to ascertain that I am still real.

Pinch yourselves, too. Go out, talk to someone, have a drink, a meal, a good laugh, hug, shake hands, or whatever form of real interaction you use in your culture. And remember, whenever you are lured with a free “service”, it is probably because you are the real commodity. A little sack with a dollar sign on it. Is that all your life should be about?…


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