Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Half listening

The half listening is epic at our house. My daughter called while I was out last evening. She imparted some exciting news to the house hunk and then requested that I call when I came back home.

In a little while I returned. The house hunk shared the news. And said, "She said she'll call back in a little while."

Naturally, when my daughter called back, she was a tad put out because I never returned her call. Fortunately, she knows her father. And fortunately, the question she had for me was one I could locate an answer for relatively easily. Sheeesh.

I've noticed there's a lot of selective listening (and reading) in the world today. I once had a contest that I really felt was very easy and uncomplicated. Yet when I scanned through the answers, it was clear that few of the contestants read the question. That contest still puzzles me.

Comments on my blog sometimes puzzle me. I usually write my blogs with considerable care. So when the comments don't come close to the subject matter of the blog, I scratch my head and go back to re-read the blog, searching for the possible interpretations my readers placed on the blog. Very odd.

Why exactly do we see this proliferation of half listening? Is it because we're too busy or too lazy or just don't care? Listening or reading with intent requires attention. It requires that extra few minutes of time.

Are we really too busy?



  1. I was shocked by a contest I held last week. I asked the contestants to answer 2 VERY simple questions. The responses were so off base I could only laugh. And the prize to was to pick a book of mine you'd like to read. They didn't even pick MINE!!! Needless to say they didn't win. :)

  2. I think it's partially information overload and partially that they haven't taught reading and comprehension skills in most schools for years. It doesn't seem to be a valued skill any longer.

  3. Info Overload could have been the issue of my contest last year. I'd asked for the two reality shows I was hooked on, which any regular reader would have picked up instantly. They got one right, but the second one totally threw everyone. I got responses ranging from non-reality shows to ones I don't even watch! Only one person answered correctly, and taught me a lesson.

    Also, I noticed this 'non-reading' issue when I ran the concession stand, and again when I worked at the fireworks store. Signs are clearly posted, but unless I SHOWED the volunteers what to do, they got it wrong. And customers were constantly asking which fireworks were buy 1 get 1, 3, or 6 free, even when the display was clearly marked.

    I love your blog, Anny; one never knows what topic you'll be talking about!

  4. Not sure I have an answer, but I've certainly noticed the problem.

  5. I'm going to have to go with information overload on this one, too. Does anyone remember watching a program and actually being able to read the credits afterward? Now the minute a show is over there are three other screens boxing in that information.

    You can't possibly read all the info so you scan everything and as a result only pick up some of the info. Then, instead of reading and comprehending everything, you're only picking up bits of information--and I think people read everything as fast as possible and glean what they think they need.

    Unfortunately, this trend doesn't seem to be going away.

    About the phone message thing--Anny, I think selective hearing may be in their DNA;-) Great post by the way!

  6. I'm thinking it's the scanning read. They pick up on something and comment before finishing the thought. That item may only have been a small example of the larger blog issue so the answer is out of left field.

  7. I think people are just plain too busy to stop and pay attention. I see examples of this everywhere in life and especially on the internet.
    Sometimes I read those little comments posted by readers on AOL about stories they'd just read. OMG, half of the people are so off track on their comments, it makes you wonder what the hell you were thinking!
    Soundbites, that's what the X generation and beyond want. Soundbites.
    Great topic, Anny.

  8. I think people are busy so they skim - but, at least they are visiting your blog! That's the only answer I can come up with.

  9. I hope it isn't a case of humans becoming so self-involved that we simply aren't paying close attention to anything but our own sh*t!
    Tessie Bradford

  10. Guilty as charged! Ooops...Now what the heck did I just admit to? :P

    I have found that I tend to skim through blogs that are longer. This does the blogger a disservice, and I apologize for having done so on several blogs lately. I find myself going back and actually READING the blog a while later, and slapping myself on the forehead with a great big DUH!

  11. Addressing the issue of contests...I have come to the grave conclusion that most people do not read anything except the first, third, and fifth lines. So I get sneaky. I write in LARGE letters in those lines, and confine the most important info to those lines. It works.

  12. Huh? Oh, excuse me...I was "half-reading"!
    Yep, notice the half listening/reading thing going on. Same with my contests. I have questions for people to answer and some send back a blank page, or just their names.
    Phone calls for me? I'm lucky if my husband remembers to tell me, even when I ask if anyone's called for me. He has very selective hearing/memory!

  13. It's all about interpretation and personal opinions and thank whomever we're all so different in out thoughts...and yeah...I believe we are that busy