Is it just me, or is our conversation becoming sloppy in the information age?

Over the past several weeks, the phrase “you know” is polluting almost every other sentence spoken from the thoughts of friends, colleagues, and celebrities.

Referred to as a conversation filler, this subconcious habit is wreaking havoc into my own attention span.

It’s almost too picky to call out friends or even reality TV stars, but lately, even the most esteemed personalities are falling into the trap of uttering the phrase “you know” into a stream of sentences.

Words like this are contagious too. My own dialogue is interrupted every time I mention the two words and it’s almost become an annoying compulsion both to frame it and to deplore the utterance.

There are many other words we use to fill nervous and uncertain moments. Words including “like,” “um,” “eh,” “basically,” “honestly,” can be extremely annoying at times and my own inner dialog has become a radar for this nuisance as I continue to craft my own destiny with clarity.

The more I think about, the more mind-numbing (and obvious) it becomes too. I have to wonder if it’s our attention span that is fragmented, or nervous thoughts as we share ideas with each other in the volume of stuff here in information age?

In a recent phone conversation with a colleague, this phenomenon was so much on my radar that I counted 32 random “you-know’s” in a short five minute conversation – so many in fact, it was hard for me to discern a complete thought. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the cause of the nervous tick over the phone, or if something else was at fault.

The trouble with conversation fillers are two-fold. First, they break up our thoughts. Instead of speaking clearly and with a degree of thoughtful poetics, fillers chain together thoughts into a random array of thoughts linked by hesitations or uncertainty. Some experts suggest that as you notice this in your own dialog to stop speaking, pause and restart your conversation. And that brings up the second point, thoughtful, careful speaking can often increase your perception of intelligence among your peers.

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose on late night television, director Niel Burger who has a new movie in theatres called Limitless, was evoking this phrase over and over again and despite his intelligence, this careless use of the phrase had me skeptical about his expertise.

Sure this may be a nit-picky mannerism, and unless you’re a public speaker, perhaps this is simply part of the conversational landscape, but for me, it’s become a note-worthy consideration…you know?