Not long ago, within my not-so-distant memory, people used to talk. We’d chat. We’d have discussions. And, curse of curses, hoity-toity folks would dialogue.
Now, we have “conversations.”
We used to be asked for our two cents’ worth. Now, we’re asked to “join the conversation.” Reporters used to conduct interviews. Now, they engage in “conversations” with their subjects. Radio talk show hosts used to take calls. Now, they “invite another voice into the conversation.” Internet discussion groups used to have forums. Now, they have “conversations.” Even arguments and debates and disagreements are “conversations.”
What is it about the word “conversation”? How is it that it has wormed its way into so many places in our language once described by perfectly good, and often more precise, words?
I suspect it’s because the people who use it think it sounds friendlier. And few people can resist warm and fuzzy, even at the expense of clarity.
What do you think? Let’s start the conversation about conversation.