The Lost Art of Conversation

4 min readNov 19, 2022

How social media disrupts human connectedness

The Twitter meltdown got me thinking. People are scrambling to find a replacement for this platform. There’s panic, confusion, and despair. Why?

Last week I wrote Why Should You Care About the Collapse of Twitter? I discuss the benefits of the platform. Now I want to talk about how social media messes with us as humans.

The internet has become a vital mainstream of our lives. Everything is connected. This is good and bad.

Social media came into being in the 1990s. Its sales pitch:

  • to bring value to society through the internet
  • create a place for sharing, connection, community, openness, and expression

Since that time, social media has shaped markets, labor, politics, and social life worldwide. Not always in a healthy way.

The 1990s v 2022

The 1990s look like heaven to me in retrospect. Technology was the new toy. It was overpriced and few had it.

Malls were still a thing. So was talking to people IRL. People went out of their way to physically see each other.

Life was slower, calmer, and polite. The 3 don’ts of conversation were still observed. Don’t talk about politics, sex, or religion.

Politics wasn’t a blood sport quite yet.

The millennium arrived. Y2K never happened. (If you’re younger, Google this to see how primitive our technology was.) The world was safe!!

Slowly, ever so slowly, the dumb phone is introduced. We didn’t think it was dumb. It was small. The screen was even smaller. It was very, very limited. You could only use the phone in your area or you needed a new SIM chip. I know this because I moved to another state and needed one.

Desktop computers were huge and bulky. We needed dial-up internet.

Here we are in 2022. In the span of twentyish years, our world has exploded.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc dominate our lives. Babies have cell phones hung over their cribs and placed in their little hands instead of pacifiers.