Here’s a Thanksgiving treat: Device-free talk

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Photo: THINKSTOCK

Excerpt from this article, and wishing all of our colleagues in the US a happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend:

This week, millions of us will endure crowded airports and traffic jams just to sit down to dinner with people we probably can see every day on Facebook.

We are not doing it for the cranberry sauce.

We are doing it for the face time — which, wonders of technology aside, is not the same as FaceTime, texting, emailing, tweeting or any other form of electronic communion.

“Face-to-face conversation is what sustains us. It gives us a sense of connection,” says Sherry Turkle, a psychologist who leads an initiative on the social and psychological influence of technological change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Eye contact, seeing a face, hearing a voice. Those things together give us a feeling of being cared for and caring for another person.”

Here are some of Turkle’s other tips for bringing conversation back, not just at Thanksgiving, but every day:

Create “sacred” spaces for conversation. A holiday dinner is a good place to start, but you will get more conversational mileage out of everyday family meals, car rides and walks.

Use the 7-minute rule. Give a conversation at least that long to unfold — boring bits, silences and all.

Make a point of talking to people with whom you disagree. That does not happen much online, where we sort ourselves into like-minded groups and often fear censure for saying things our friends and followers might not like.

Choose the right tool for the job. Emails and texts are extremely useful and sometimes best, but there’s no substitute for face to face when it comes to some conversations — including many of the hardest ones.