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Hannah Whittaker

December 29, 2011 in Communication

2012- The Year For Smarter Communication?

If modern technology has changed one thing we do collectively as a society it’s communication. This might be an obvious statement, but have we stopped to think exactly how the way we communicate is affecting our individual lives? (I recently heard the news that ‘sleep-tweeting’ is becoming a bit of an epidemic). As the core tool for interaction, doing business and maintaining successful relationships, electronic communication is an area surrounded by much chattering (or Twittering).

The question of how successfully we are communicating is an important one. If you stop to consider how dramatically the way you communicate has changed in the past 10 or 15 years it might even be funny. But are you now guilty of poor-quality communication overload? There is a trap with all the aids we have like Twitter, Facebook, emails, BBM, WhatsApp etc. that quantity is taking precedence over quality, with cycles of boomeranging information taking much longer to reach an action point. Anyone who has been the victim of dozens of internal emails which bear little personal relevance understands this.

There is also a danger that relying on electronic communication is making us lazier- or less likely to confront people or problems face on. Much like dodging a phone call you know might be unpleasant, the distance created by the internet also creates two time zones- one for each correspondent- which can make room for misunderstandings. These separate worlds we all live in now make us have to work much harder at staying ‘on the same page’.

Whether you feel liberated or oppressed by it, communicating electronically is here to stay. So, my new year resolution will be to commit myself to becoming better at it. This doesn’t mean plunge myself in to a tweet frenzy, or sending millions of collective emails, but asking myself how I become smarter at it. The advantages of electronic communication are to me threefold: 1. Access to millions of interesting, useful people at my fingertips. 2. Emails give me time to think and consider better solutions, rather than give instantaneous reactions. 3. ‘New’ communication technologies provide an additional means of building relationships, not a replacement.

Heading into 2012, where there will almost certainly be a new shift in the way we talk to each other, we can all ask ourselves if we are communicating smarter than 10 years ago. You might surprise yourself.

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