By chance, this evening I happened onto a talk about that very subject that shares a radically different viewpoint. Stefana Broadbent thinks that with the instant communication technology, we are actually returning to a more natural pattern of human communication!
It is a fascinating idea, and a completely new way to look at the subject, but I have to admit that she makes some excellent points. When the industrial revolution occurred, people suddenly were shut into factories away from their families for most of the day, completely changing communication patterns. Then we began institutionalizing our children, teaching them gradually to handle separation from family and interaction with larger groups, which readied them for factory/office environments. And until very recently, people at work were expected to be pretty much cut off from outside communication so that they could focus on their work. (Which I confess, doesn’t seem all bad to me… )
But listen for yourself. It’s fascinating. I’m still not sure whether I agree with her, but I appreciate the new perspective.
A hat tip to Sherri for pointing me to the TED site. Lots of interesting stuff there.