ABSTRACT

To purists who limit the term conversation to face-to-face interaction, this chapter may be an irrelevant appendage, failing to move the general conversation along. Nevertheless, we increasingly converse with others with the aid of technology. Previous technologies such as the telephone changed whom we talked to, what we talked about, and when we conversed. Friends and family around the world became more and more part of our daily life as regular phone calls took the place of infrequent letters and even less frequent visits. Telephone calls expanded the content of communications by adding intonation and, to some degree, mood, but they did little to enhance topics requiring visual cues (see Box 8.1). Humans are slow to change old patterns even when changing technology makes them anachronistic. The more gray hair you have, the more likely you are to “wait until after 5 p.m. when the rates are lower,” even though most of our calling plans no longer abide by that rule (see Box 8.2).