At the risk of sounding like Peter Kaye – do you remember the time when you had to call people on the landline and arrange to meet in the pub to catch up on all the gossip?

When the phone was generally situated in the hallway, attached to the wall or placed on a telephone table and you had to close the sitting room door so your parents couldn’t hear your intentions. Harking back to a time before the internet and smart phones where we actually had to engage in the art of conversation.

It sounds positively Dickensian nowadays but we actually had to talk to each other be that via the telephone, or meeting and enjoying the company of others.

They have blamed the smoking ban for the demise of pubs and clubs, but I would have to attribute it to the technological age. Back in the day we had to make arrangements, there were relays of phone calls ensuring everyone knew where and when to meet. Thursday was the pre-amble to the weekend, where you would meet up at the local gay bar for a chat, and plan the weekend’s events. You had to describe your weekend outfit in graphic detail, no photographs available. No facebook, no twitter, no apps, no way of finding anything out apart from word of mouth. Now in the age of instant messaging, we seem to have lost the art of socialising.

Online you can chat, arrange to meet, have full blown virtual relationships. I remember when you actually had to get out there, speak to people, engage in face to face contact. On screen, you are missing out on a look, a touch, the chance to experience another person’s charisma. Have we lost the ability to do this?

I am not a technophobe and have reluctantly engaged in this new world of virtual friendships and break into a cold sweat at the thought of being unable to log into facebook for more than an hour, however it brought it home when I found myself and my partner sitting in the same room having an online conversation over a post, we were less than a metre apart. Is this a reflection of how far we have come, we now only communicate via memes and messages of less than 140 characters.

Whilst I am not looking back to the pre-mobile age looking through rose tinted glasses, I am questioning whether or not the next generation will actually have the ability to converse without the use of hashtags and emojis. If meeting in the local gay bar will be a thing of the past and we all Skype from home drinking our own gin and never have to leave the comfort of our own underpants.

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Embracing technology does not mean we have to lose the art of socialising. However, I must now text my partner who is currently triple screening (phone, tablet and TV) to see if we can meet in the sitting room later and ignore each other for another few hours.

Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.