Social Question

thorninmud's avatar

Has TV made us chattier?

Asked by thorninmud (20488points) September 15th, 2016

I’m wondering whether the way TV portrays casual social interaction has shaped our expectations about how much talking is considered normal under ordinary circumstances.

It seems to me that TV is one of the ways people in our culture learn about social norms, consciously or not. To an extent, TV purports to reflect back to us the way we are, but it does this in an exaggerated way for greater entertainment value. Does seeing these exaggerated portrayals then nudge our own behaviors and expectations in that direction, so that life starts to look more like the amped-up version of life on TV?

Understandably, TV scenes are pretty much carpeted with wall-to-wall dialogue. Has watching decades of that led us to feel that this is the way it’s supposed to be whenever we’re in the company of others? Do we think of silences as “awkward” partly because that’s not what we see modeled on TV?

I guess movies have also shaped our social norms, so TV may have just intensified the pace of the feedback. Would literature have had a similar effect? I’m curious whether people felt more at ease with silence before TV/movies.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, it has been a problem ever since Shakespeare wrote all that dialogue. Even when we are alone, we have to spout poetry as a soliloquy.

I say, back to the Greeks when a man could ponder while the chorus sang.the narrative of his life.

I think you are over thinking this.

thorninmud's avatar

I don’t think anyone considered Shakespeare or Homer to be portraying commonplace interactions.

Sneki95's avatar

Media does shape our perceptions and stuff like that, but….people chatted way before TV.

marinelife's avatar

Anything that TV had done to encourage social interaction has been erased by the prevalence of cell phones. Who here has not almost been drawn into conversation with an idiot talking loudly on a bluetooth headset?

marinelife's avatar

@thorninmud Shakespeare was the TV of his time. He was totally for the common man. Thus some of the broad comedy.

thorninmud's avatar

@marinelife For the entertainment of the common man, perhaps, but he wasn’t typically showing them some version of their own lifestyle, was he?

Aethelwine's avatar

Interesting question! I’ve always been a quiet person. It was very difficult for me in school because people would tell me how quiet I was. They would put me on the spot and it just made me feel more awkward.

I still receive comments on occasion and it’s embarrassing. I’m just not a chatter, especially when I’m among a large group of people.

I don’t really have an answer, but I wonder if my life might be a little easier if I didn’t feel so much pressure to perform in society.

Does TV make it worse for me? I’m interested to see how everyone responds to the Q.

Cruiser's avatar

I think people chatted way more before the advent of Radio and TV. That was all you had was to sit around and talk, tell stories and sing together. IMO TV has killed discussions that contain original thoughts.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s a “chicken or egg” question as to whether tv drives life or vice versa. To my mind, it’s rather clear that both scenarios are underway, but the conclusion that tv diminishes or cheapens the quality of oratory and exposition is wrong. The most important parallel television shares in regard to Homer and Shakespeare is that the exact same truth is evident. And the truth is that there is always a sea of garbage and mediocrity surrounding the gold nuggets. The medium or even the topic is irrelevant. It’s the Yugos and Fords that define the norm, but it’s the Ferrari that is guaranteed to swivel my head. It’s also a mistake to judge the works of Shakepeare and Homer as not reflecting the interactions of the common man. I think that is EXACTLY what they achieve. It is not the facts that Hamlet is prince of Denmark nor that the entire masterpiece is constructed on the ridiculous premise of the revelations from a ghost. Hamlet is a masterpiece because it is a superb narrative on the human condition common to us all. It’s the story of a pampered kid abruptly confronted with the requirement to grow up.

thorninmud's avatar

The quality of conversation is a different matter. I don’t mean this as a critique of small-talk. And yes, of course there was small talk long before TV. I’m referring more to our discomfort with silence.

Small-talk can serve a valuable social function. But often it’s not used in this positive way, but as something to throw into the breach of the dreaded silence. What I’m wondering is where this discomfort with silence comes from, and whether it’s always been this way, or to the same extent.

And sure, Shakespeare’s themes are universal, but my point was that precisely because they were set in uncommon contexts they weren’t likely to be mistaken for models of casual social norms.

ucme's avatar

I’m very comfortable with the occasional bout of silence while chilling with family, usually pretty late on an evening when we’ve all had a full & busy day.
Nothing wrong with a mutually agreed interlude where no one speaks & therefore listening is also off the menu, gives your brain a refreshing, much needed break, quite therapeutic.
Not sure where television fits in around this but there you have it.

Sneki95's avatar

@stanleybmanly ” It is not the facts that Hamlet is prince of Denmark nor that the entire masterpiece is constructed on the ridiculous premise of the revelations from a ghost. Hamlet is a masterpiece because it is a superb narrative on the human condition common to us all. It’s the story of a pampered kid abruptly confronted with the requirement to grow up.”

I wish I could give you more than one GA. That was wonderfully said.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther