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September 2, 2014
Mike Stegall

The Lost Art of Talking

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein

In case you haven’t been aware, ever since the 1980’s, we have been in a technology boom.  Personal computers, cell phones, the internet, our cars, planes, ships, trains, everything has grown with the advent of new technology.  It is nothing anymore to see people walking with their I-pods, or cell phones, or I-pads, tied to their ears as they move about.  At no time in human history has man been more able to communicate with each other, over far greater distances than could be imagined a century ago.

This ability has allowed us to supposedly advance in the understanding of our world, and of each other.  Communication is a great thing, as long as we use it properly, and at the right time.  As we invent and improve what we have in the way of communication devices, it seems to me we don’t really talk to each other anymore.

Everybody wants the latest and greatest device to communicate with, but do they really help us to talk to each other?  I think we have all been places and noticed two or more people sitting together not talking to each other, but texting!  I admit there is a place for texting, but not when you are with another person.  Young people especially are guilty of this because they have always had these devices, they grow up with them.  They have not had to talk one-on-one with each other.  It is becoming a lost art.

There is nothing, in my opinion, like the ability to sit with someone and actually TALK to them.  That gives you a feel and an insight into the person you are talking to that you cannot get on any electronic device.  On a cell phone, or any other device (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Etc.) you miss that personal connection with that person.  They become just a name, a face, or a faceless voice.

Facebook and the other forms of communication are great tools when used correctly.  I use it, and it is a great way for me to let the public know what I am doing, and what we are doing in the Commissioner’s office, and what is happening in the County.  At this time, we are currently updating our County website, (it will be myDarkeCountyOhio.com, and should be up and running by July) and it will also be tied in with our Facebook page and twitter account.  Great ways for us to keep the public informed.

However, I still prefer the face-to-face meetings.  That is why I think my Coffee’s with the commissioner, and doing as many speeches and outings as I can, are so important.  It gives you a chance to meet the real person, not just a voice or a picture on the other end of the line.  You can get a feel for what kind of person I am, and I of you.  I can see and feel your anger, your questioning look, your surprise, and your gratitude in a one-on-one meeting and you can see my reaction as well.  It is important to me to meet as many people as I can. Why? It helps me do this job better.

Phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts, or messages can be ignored, or forgotten.  A meeting with someone is never misplaced, or ignored.  I like that.  So far, the people I meet have been very gracious and helpful.  I notice that the more I see them, the more comfortable they become with me.  That’s a good thing, it lets people open up more with their real thoughts and feelings.  That makes the decisions we make as Commissioners more personal, and more important to us.  We don’t forget meeting with people who have a problem, or a solution.

Let’s communicate more. Not by the wonders of technology, but by old fashioned meeting, shaking each other’s hand, and talking with one another.  I bet if we do that more, we will have a better understanding of the people we meet, their problems and ideas, and less misunderstandings and mistakes will be made.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate, that is the new catchphrase.  It is a good sentiment, but let’s change it to Communicate, Communicate, Communicate, WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY.

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