Intellectual discussions

So this afternoon a friend came home and we had a nice long discussion on a lot of things. And then it was time for him to leave. But by then, I was in the frame of mind where I was craving intellectual discussions, but there were no avenues for me to execute!

I remember this time five years or so ago, when each day when I would come back home from work, I would open Google Talk and initiate five or six conversations with friends who were online. Some would be stillborn, as the counterparty wouldn’t reply, but my carpet bombing would work and there would be 2-3 conversations that would fructify, and I would have a nice time talking!

Unfortunately, with the decline of Google Talk, there are no avenues for such discussions now. In fact, what killed it was the move to mobile – the original point of Google Talk was that you could signal that you were available by logging on. And so when you signalled thus, someone would ping you, and you would have a conversation.

By moving Google Talk to the mobile phone, where you were online by default, it meant that you were shown online even when you weren’t in a mood to chat. People would occasionally ping you, but then give up. It was like the case of the shepherd boy crying “wolf”. So a green button next to someone’s name on Google Talk means nothing now, in terms of their availability to chat!

Other chatting mechanisms, such as WhatsApp are no better, being “mobile first” and thus “always logged in”. You don’t know who is available when, and who you can possibly ping to have a good conversation.

And then five years back, I stopped logging on to Google Talk and initiating five different conversations. I started logging on to Twitter, instead, and making conversation with people on my timeline . Unfortunately, twitter has been ruined, too. It is so full of outrage, and some of such outrage conducted by otherwise smart people, that I’ve radically cut down on the number of people I follow.

As the world solves some problems, it un-solves others, and creates yet others. And there was a time when I would blog, and visit other blogs, to have intellectual discussions. And now people have stopped commenting on blogs, also!

3 thoughts on “Intellectual discussions”

  1. On the bright side, this forces one to make it a point to physically meet people when such moods take over and there is time to spare. Of course, that is a rarity…still, something that makes people meet and discuss IRL is way better than most online conversations can hope to be.

    1. Physical meeting and discussions are fine but you still have the matching problem! How do you discover who might be free at that time? You don’t want to call a dozen people with each of them telling you they’re not available – that’ll just kill it.

      Boss we better build InstaFriend soon!

  2. Late 90s & 2000s was the golden era of information based multidisciplinary thinking. With the advent of smartphones & social networks, people are mostly in the social fabric world & the quality of information is mostly related to the social fabric & not to the intellectual fabric. Even the tech savviness in the current college world seems to be going down with most people spending time improving their social fabric based information consumption over multidisciplinary based information consumption. At the same time, a lot of people have ingrained different attitudes around privacy, rights etc.. due to ease of information dissemination & finding like minded people across boundaries.

    We are about to embark on an era of information renaissance(changing political & social dynamics) & a device based industrialization(smart homes, smart vehicles etc…) We are going to progress in one century the same progress we saw across 5 centuries from 13th century to 19th century.

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