Old ties, new media

phone

I just got off the phone with an old friend I haven’t talked with for probably 40 years. I still hear my friend from then in his voice. The call came to my phone, but I really had no idea what the actual connection was (turns out it came through Facebook Messenger).

Old ties are important, and relatively rare in American culture. Continue reading “Old ties, new media”

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Connect while you can

Carolyn and Amma

This has been a rough semester.

Three weeks ago today the college’s beloved choral director, Bill Brewer, died after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Yesterday my friend and fellow speech professor Carolyn Buttram died after living with cancer for nearly 20 years.

There’s no way around it. It sucks. But there are aspects around Carolyn’s passing that are sweet, as well as aspects I regret.

Continue reading “Connect while you can”

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It’s all about connection

spock_kirk_small

My students constantly hear: people don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotion; they justify decisions based on logic.

That means that you must have both, of course. I do not mean to devalue logical appeals in persuasive speeches. But if you want people to act, you must appeal on an emotional level as well. Continue reading “It’s all about connection”

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Take the time, updated

baby

I’m reblogging and adding to a post from March 2009, four years ago.

On that day, I wrote:

My cousin died in a car accident over the weekend [remember this was posted four years ago]. Your cousins may or may not be close to you. My family in many ways has never been close, but on the other hand I had no brothers and sisters, and my cousin was born within two hours of my own birth. He was the relative I was closest to growing up, though we lived an hour apart.

We’ve kept in touch mostly through third parties–my mom would hear from his mom, etc. I kept meaning to talk to him, but I kept thinking I’d spend some time with him at the next family reunion. Thanks to life challenges in both our lives, though, as well as the fact that no one in our family bothers to organize family reunions, that never happened.

I didn’t even find out he had been killed until yesterday, and the funeral in West Tennessee was this morning. Opportunity gone.

He has had a tough life. We could have helped each other. Coulda woulda shoulda helps nothing and no one.

Communication doesn’t just happen. It takes effort; it takes consciousness; it takes attention. Is there someone you need to talk with? Do it today.

It’s only been four years, but it seems much longer than that. Yet in that short time, much has changed about the way I communicate with friends and family.

I haven’t seen my middle daughter in a couple of years. She has gotten married since I last saw her, but she lives far enough away (and finances are tight enough) that we haven’t been in the same space in that time. I haven’t met her husband, and haven’t seen my first grandchild.

On the other hand, through Facebook and Skype we’ve kept in fairly close touch. I’ve been able to hear and see that new baby. It’s not the same of course. I can’t hold him, can’t get pooped on. But it’s better than just a few years ago, when years apart meant little or no contact at all.

People worry about electronic communication interfering with real human communication, and the worry is justified. But at the same time, I’m able to maintain a higher level of contact with more people than ever before. It gives me a way I can afford to make the effort and pay the attention to people I would otherwise miss completely. I think that’s a good thing.

What about you? Have you made that needed contact?

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Social media friends are real

A Conversation

At least some social media friends are real.

I’ve been thinking about friendship in recent days. I don’t think many of us have as many close relationships as we once did, but maybe I’m just extrapolating my experience to the whole world and maybe I’m falling into the “good old days” trap. Still, it seems that real-world relationships don’t have the depth they used to. Continue reading “Social media friends are real”

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