…and the intrusion of technology

Tomorrow it is my privilege to attend the Christian New Media Conference in Central London.  The programme is packed, the themes are fascinating, and the speakers are set to stimulate mind and heart. However, if I’m honest the thing I’m looking forward to most is face time. By that I don’t mean the tech-enabled illusion of proximity created by video calls. I mean the pure joy of meeting people face to face with whom I usually correspond by 140-character bursts of text. I want to see the crease around their eyes when they smile, I want to watch their forehead furrow when they think. I want to hear the sound of their voices and maybe even see the splot of coffee they have spilt on their clothes as the conversation gets more animated. In other words, I am looking forward to the mess and wonder of human conversation.

This morning I had a scheduled meeting with the communications director of a charity. The agenda for our conversation was social media communications, and so I had intended to set up my laptop on the table between us. In the end, I did not do so. The computer was needed elsewhere, and in fact it would have spoilt our conversation. We did look things up online – but only after  allowing our imaginations to run free. The computer served only to confirm how things were possible, not whether they were helpful. Sometimes its worth thinking about the geography of conversation, I think – and those time when the angularity of technology can intrude on the round edges of the conversational space.

Meanwhile, I must turn to my computer, and find out how to get there tomorrow…

Image: phoenixstudios.co.uk