Do Communications Tools Make Us More or Less Communicative?

Published Thursday, July 22, 2010 1:44 PM

"The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate." So said English chemist and writer Jason Priestly, oh, about 200 years before the iPhone and the rise of social media.

What would Priestly make of the way we communicate today? Does the explosion of communications tools make us better communicators? Or does the more-is-more nature of modern communication actually devalue the information we transmit?

When India and Indiana are a Skype Call Away

We've blogged extensively about how the global nature of business is aided and abetted by technology. Global teams wouldn't be possible without the Internet and a host of tech tools. Technology also makes it easier to work as a location independent worker,  free from the tethers of cubicles and commutes. Social media allows us to both keep up with the lives of friends across country and to promote our personal brand professionally

I enjoy being in great Facebook touch with old friends whom I might otherwise be out of the loop with altogether. But what happens when you "like" the post about a friend's promotion. Does it stop you from picking up the phone to say congrats in person? Is technology helping or hurting the way you communicate?

When You're Texting Rather than Talking

We've also posted about the downside of technology. How the 24/7 nature of social media can lead to the loss of privacy or how the long arm of technology's reach can turn a beach chair into a boardroom. Technology certainly has its downside but has it eroded the quality of our communications? 

We all know e-mails and texts can be misread, misconstrued. I'd argue that they can be misused; too often face-to-face or in person communication is overlooked. I'd also make the case that the increase in our communication bandwidth can verge on "oversharing."  When its all-news-all-the-time, it's hard to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

New and creative communications tools are a never-ending parade as this fascinating article makes clear: Evolution of Communication: From Email to Twitter and Beyond.  At the end of the day, how well or poorly we communicate is governed less by the technology we use, then the way we use that technology.

Let's strive to use it mindfully.

What do you think about modern communication skills? Are we more or less communicative? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Candie Harris


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