You and the Dissemination of Information

Happy Friday one and all!

Each Friday of this semester just seems to be better than the last, and each weekend gets shorter and shorter… come on wine walk!!!

Information overload is nothing new to any of us. In fact, daily we are bombarded with more messages through our computers, phones, advertisements, TV, billboards, etc.

These days, there is not much that cannot be done from our favorite handheld devices. From picture sharing to Tweeting, texting all your peeps to composing emails, there are few things that a mobile device cannot accomplish for you. The advent of email was revolutionary. Sending instant pieces of information thousands and thousands of miles in the blink of an eye is simply astounding. In fact, this week I exchanged emails from across the pond instantaneously. Awesome!

The idea of this instant accessibility creates an interesting dynamic when communicating with people. Often, people get irked because I don’t respond within five minutes to a text (because I was in a meeting) or take four days to respond to an email. Normally, I’m on top of my texting and a response within three minutes is not unusual.

The power of cyberspace and integrated technology that makes anyone accessible has drastically impacted our communication expectations. However, there are plenty of benefits too. For example, instead of waiting for snail mail to deliver a card across the country, you can simply text your sentiments and CYA that way. Granted, you’ll probably get busted for that being inconsiderate and far to convenient but it is a good backup plan.

Human communication is a very complicated and multifaceted area, and people spend years and years studying that behavior and still don’t gain much understanding. We are creatures of the nonverbal, and digital communication removes that entire aspect of our conversations. As someone with a very sarcastic, slightly pessimistic, politically incorrect and cynical sense of humor, I definitely rely on my nonverbal and facial expressions to convey my meaning. How often have you had someone misinterpret a text message or email because you never ever say “just kidding” or don’t throw a stupid smiley face in there?! I’m always one who takes the more subtle humor route and don’t believe in explicitly stating that it was a joke. It kind of ruins the fun!

What do we sacrifice by embracing a societal shift towards instant communication? Tell me you haven’t been frustrated when someone doesn’t answer their phone only to receive a stupid text from them 12 seconds later that says what do you want!? WTF!!!!!
The World is Flat and the Shallows are both excellent books that deal with the topic and have been blogged about before.

Fortunately, with all of the data exchange flying around between companies and personal parties, you need people who understand data and the exchange methods. JOB SECURITY! Yes! I love being the “go to” guy at work for computer and data issues, and can’t think of a more rewarding experience than helping someone generate or collect information that helps them do their job better. There is a lot of personal achievement to be gleaned from that experience!

Technology has forced our world to become more flat, and will continue to do so as countries like India and China continue to barge ahead and become global leaders. As was a common theme in 2011, change isn’t bad, it’s just different. Here’s a fascinating take on a literal flat world in Dubai! I don’t think I would mind living on my own private island one bit!

What communication methods do you prefer and which do you find most impersonal?

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.

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2 Comments

  1. Well, of course I prefer a note on a 100% cotton fiber notecard handwritten with a refillable black or blue ink fountain pen. . . . Just please don’t post your news on Facebook and expect me to think that it was personally directed to me!

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