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By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA — Again and again, we’re told to “join the conversation.” It’s the catch-phrase that’s been beat to death as it refers to discussing, debating, and exploring topics on social media.

Between Facebook, Twitter, radio, comment sections on blogs and websites, Tout, and so on, there is no shortage of places to join the conversation as far as sports goes.

So why is it, that I read and hear so little actual conversation? Most of it, as it pertains to any particular topic, is just noise. People doing their best to shout as loud as they can within 140 characters.

Dictionary.com defines conversation as “informal interchange of thoughts.” You can’t have an interchange of thoughts when no one’s listening.

Instead of using the avenues we have to learn and discuss, more and more, we use it to yell. To win. There is my opinion, there is your opinion, and they are both extreme without an in-between. It’s really pretty exhausting. No shades of of grey, only black and white.

The Penn State situation, a horrible, sad story by any one’s standards, has devolved into a kind of insane shouting match about Joe Paterno. It shows such little respect for the victims, and little awareness about the wrongs that were committed. This is true of both sides of this argument.

It’s not just hot-button issues like the Penn State fiasco. It’s Kwame Brown to the Sixers, it’s Cole Hamels and his contract extension, it’s Lebron James and his “clutchness,” it’s Michael Vick and the word “dynasty.”

It’s a shame, because as we sit from our perches at each extreme, the truth as it always does, lies somewhere in the middle. And if we took some time to join the conversation, maybe we’d actually find out.

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