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EditorialsUp Front 07/13

Up Front 07/13

I grew up in a small village where it was normal to say hello to anyone we passed in the street, even those we didn’t know. People nodded, smiled, exchanged pleasantries, and if they knew each other chatted about family and friends. More often than not the weather was mentioned and a friendly ‘good luck’ might have ended the conversation. As I grew older and moved to a city it soon became clear that saying hello to a complete stranger would be met with suspicion, especially by those that hadn’t known the pleasure to be gained from friendly social interaction. Fast forward forty year later and when I visited that village recently I found that not only had it grown four fold and I recognised few faces, but I had also lost the ability to say hello to those I passed in the street. I’ve long since become used to the fact that it is no longer my home but what a pity that that gentle social interaction no longer comes so naturally. A recent survey into the average person’s social confidence and communication found small talk is fast becoming a thing of the past. It seems the surge in online communication is quickly taking over. In a survey of two thousand people many said small talk was unimportant. The research also found that one third of people are distinctly uncomfortable having to talk to anyone they don’t already know. More than half the study admitted they go to some lengths to try to deter people they don’t know from talking to them—pretending to look at their phone, using a book or putting headphones in to try to look unapproachable. Speaking about her new film, The Bling Ring, writer and Director Sofia Coppola pointed out that online interaction was starting to look like some kind of sci-fi world where people constantly stared into tiny screens and felt they weren’t living life unless it was all documented online through tweets, photographs, videos and Facebook posts. We’ve had the 60s through the 90s and even the Naughties. Now it’s the MeMes and we can watch it all online and make small talk without actually talking to anyone.  (: (: ☺☺  FB

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