Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Are You Conversationally Tone-Deaf?


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Better posted than never (sometimes we hold ourselves back in conversation and it is only afterwards we think we should have spoken up - typed this up at the time but didn't post it - I just copied it - was emptying out junk files when I came across it again and it reminded me of a more recent conversation.


I also wonder if you can sometime misdiagnose "tone deafness" for a much more chronic (and widespread) condition which looks more like autism.

I see myself as suffering from a form of autism online. Without all that is not words I become the bench mark of what is appropriate not the "other". I read myself into the lines and comment as if to myself. You hear my voice as I hear it. But, you listen to your voice and read differently.

Trying to work out the differences between what was said/written and what was heard/read is the essence of conversation. Looking for clues (verbal and non verbal) of where we don't meet and exploring these with compassion (not respect or civility - I can respect your view that doesn't mean I have tried to understand what you are saying)

To me, great conversations are joyous labour and exhaust like a day in the garden. There is nothing easy about understanding a lifetime of experience distilled into a phrase - Unwrapping meaning like the layers of pass the parcel - anticipation growing as you approach shared understanding of words- the prize not that you agree but that you have, through the conversation, heard another voice and not your own.

I find it hard to play pass the parcel online. My technologically inspired autism renders me socially awkward at best and at worst unfit to play. I end up playing with my self.

I wonder if I'm just stubborn in not changing the way I converse with the world online- am I incapable or unwilling to change my voice to match the limitations of the technology. To mimic others because my own voice offends.

But perhaps the "problem" is not that people can't hold a tune but that others only want to listen to the tunes they like. Who is the tone deaf tyrant?

@Peter - the audience for online content in blogs sometimes seems happy with the mere confirmation of what it already thinks it knows. I keep coming back to this idea because I so often see insightful content go unnoticed. Or maybe it gets noticed by fewer readers for lack of popularity. A strong reason that moves me to ask a mix of voices - known and less known - here is that. I have enjoyed rediscovering thoughts and conversations thanks to others in the past two weeks, when my contribution has been just of supporting, listening and making the space available.

@Connie - you are very kind. Thank you. It has been exciting to welcome so many new voices in the posts and the comments for the past two weeks. All thanks to you, your readers and those of other bloggers and guest writers.

@Ari - I wrote a post on the allure and power of music to convey emotion recently about MySpace. I used Cartier as an example of a brand that capitalized on that smartly. Glad the content connected with you.

The appropriateness of reading your words today is I had a conversation last night about music and drawing, with the presumption that nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes must have been listening to things, anything, before they drew the objects.

Music is a powerful emotion.

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