Op Ed with Bob Branco – Telephone Chat Lines Offer Another Form of Socialization

During the past year or so, I have participated in several telephone chat lines. These chat lines serve as another opportunity for people to get together, make new friends, and discuss a variety of topics. Many people who use these chat lines are blind, and a possible reason for that is because social networks on the computer are not always as fully accessible to blind people as they are to the sighted.

With that said, I am pleased that we have an outlet where we can verbally communicate, because there aren’t as many devices for verbal communication as there once were. For example, I have been a Citizens’ Band radio operator for 23 years. For the first several years, I had fun talking to hundreds of people in and around my community by using a 2-way radio. Today, with all the social networks available, it is hard to find anyone who uses the Citizens’ Band any more.

Despite how successful computerized social networking is, I feel that we still need to talk to one another. Your voice helps a person get a more honest impression of you than if he or she sees your written word on a Facebook post or in a telephone text. Verbal conversation is also quicker, and you can express your inner feelings easier and receive verbal support a lot faster.

Another aspect that has become more prevalent is bullying. If someone wants to bully you through a nonverbal social network, you may not know who’s doing it; whereas, in a verbal chat room, it’s easier to figure out what’s going on.

I sincerely hope that despite all the social networking we do on our computers, vehicles such as telephone chat lines continue to grow and prosper.

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