Living In A Post-Verbal Society

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Have you heard the term “post-verbal society” yet? It is the idea that our society is moving in a direction where verbal communication is not the primary or even a top method we use to communicate with one another. Kind of feels like we are already there, does it not?

Recently I was in California at a retreat for Micah Group facilitators at Fuller Seminary. Our host and director, Dr. Tim Dearborn, was introducing our next speaker on the topic of the “Future of Preaching.” Dr. Dearborn threw out the phrase “post-verbal society” and I quickly wrote it down.

A post-verbal society…. Is this a reality right now? Well, let’s think about it.

  • Emailing
  • Texting
  • Blogging
  • Messaging
  • Liking
  • Posting
  • Tweeting
  • Pinning

These are all forms of communication that do not involve a phone call or face to face meeting. Personally I love Facetiming, but my cool friends make fun of me for this.

It does seem like we have moved beyond verbal communication. I know we could discuss the negatives of this. I have heard many argue against social media for various reasons. The only real relevant argument, in my mind, is that we miss physical touch. A handshake, hug, or high-five does more than we think.

Saying that, I do believe there are some great advantages to a post-verbal society.

1. We can remain in contact with friends and family even when our job moves us.

2. Relationships are built on constant contact. In a post-verbal society we can stay in touch despite a hefty travel schedule, a bout with the flu, or a winter storm.
3. More. Whether it be more business contacts, more volunteers for your nonprofit, or more friendships, a post-verbal society allows for more relationships.

What do you think? Do we live in a post-verbal society? What other benefits do you see? Please share in the comments section.

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  1. Chris Paulk

    Great post, Adam! Now that you taught me this phrase, I will see it & use it everywhere.
    The downside of all of our non-verbal communication is that we sometimes miss emotion in written text. I recently had to call a customer in order to clear up a misunderstanding that was the result of the lack of emotion in emails.
    The benefit of our post-verbal society is that I stay in touch with life long friends more frequently than I would otherwise.

    February 4, 2014
    • adamsuter

      Emotion! You are absolutely right. I think in non-verbal communication we tend to see negative emotion extremely negatively and we tend to minimize positive emotion, unfortunately. I also have had to take an online situation offline into a lunch conversation. Friendship, oh yeah! That is my favorite part of all of this.

      February 4, 2014
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