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Conversation vs. Connection — Which do You Prefer?

I recently sat down with a handful of my colleagues here at Mindjet to talk to them about collaboration. The conversation started out as expected (pretty basic) but things took a turn for the interesting when we got into the pain points. It turns out that even though software is helpful for collecting ideas and working across locales, face-to-face conversation is still the preferred method in a lot of instances.

MIT Professor Sherry Turkle recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times Sunday Review, drawing a sharp distinction between in-person conversations and the connections we make online. She explains that texting, e-mailing and online posting allow us “to present the self we want to be.  This means we can edit.  And if we wish, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body.  Not too much, not too little – just right.”

“…human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding,” she adds. “We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is a part of this.”

I’d like to open this up as a conversation starter for you all. I’m curious to know how you yourself differentiate conversation and connection, and when one is more appropriate than the other in the office. Are there features that could be added to the software you use today that would make it even easier to get work done?