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Has social media impeded or enhanced communication?

Grant Hilton - Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Do you remember the days when you would have to phone friends on a landline to have a chat and if you didn't have their number you would either have to ask them for it and write it down with a pen on paper or get out that big bulky book called the White Pages? Obviously things have changed substantially since then with mobile phones and email but the introduction of these did nothing to negatively affect the way we communicate with each other. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and many more social media channels that we use for communication but has this made us lazy and restricted the way we verbally communicate with each other?

Firstly it is important to state that the introduction and evolving nature of social media is great for business and has no doubt had some very positive influence on many of our personal and professional lives. Whilst it is now relatively easy to keep track of what our friends or colleagues are doing through status updates and wall posts in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it is more likely that this convenience has stopped you from calling a friend and having a chat simply because you already know what’s been happening in their life. It seems that at times we are too obsessed with using Facebook over picking up the phone and calling people simply because it’s more convenient, there is less time required to commit to that person and it’s generally easier.  The argument could be made that it has reduced the level of spoken communication but enhanced written communication and general awareness of our friends or colleagues movements. Whilst these resources are good for online promotion and networking our ability to form substantial offline relationships is limited because the majority of the communication is not in person or verbal. Therefore there are obvious elements missing to the relationship and had social media not existed would we still be in contact with many of the friends that we are connected with?


Food for thought.....

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