2010: The Year We Stopped Talking to Each Other

Being in the room with someone doesn't mean they have your attention
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2010 8:33 AM CST
Why talk when you can text?   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

(Newser) – In the seemingly unending onslaught of "best" and "worst" of 2010 stories, a declaration that's a mix. Writing for USA Today, Sharon Jayson dubs 2010 "the Year We Stopped Talking to One Another." The upside: We're Facebook BFFs with Kimmy from high school. The downside: We check email on dates. Writes Jayson, "Our days are filled with beeps and pings—many of which pull us away from tasks at hand or face-to-face conversations. We may feel that the distractions are too much, but we can't seem to stop posting, texting or surfing." And experts say it's time to give our behavior a cold, hard look.

Considering that 93% of us have cellphones or wireless devices, and are literally sending trillions of text messages a year, we're now "truly experiencing this kind of critical mass," says one communication studies professor. The result? When we're literally standing next to someone, we can no longer assume we have their full attention. And the result of that? Who knows. "We don't know the net consequence of reducing the quality of the relationship a little bit with the person you're with while improving or maintaining it with the person you're electronically tied to," explains one social psychologist.

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