Over the recent years, the communication patterns among people either in a social or a working setting have changed drastically. This is owed to the fact that technology engineers most of our communication today. The growth in technology has allowed people to have many easy and faster ways of communicating with others without necessarily meeting them in person. It is believed that technology is responsible for the digitally mediated communication that has taken over our world today. As much as technology has eased means of communication, it is also believed to have adversely affected the face-to-face communication which is considered to be very important. This essay will focus on the impacts of technology on communication.
There are numerous methods of communication available today. People can communicate with their friends, families and colleagues through a number of ways like text messages, phone calls and emails. These are very popular methods of communicating and they are appreciated by many because they are convenient and fast. People especially in the corporate world tend to communicate regularly using emails. In one of the articles by Alison Stein, emailing has become a very common norm especially in the workplace and this is affecting how people are communicating face-to-face.
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The article provides a case study of the Roberts Golden Consulting Company where they believe that it is important to maintain a face encounter in communication at least once in a while. According to a study of the company, emailing has become very rampant and this has negative impacts on personal encounters during communication. The company has agreed to use emails as the reigning form of communication for four days a week and on Friday, they should try other ways of communication whereby there is personal engagement. According to the president of the company, Sara Roberts, this is very crucial as they need to revive face-to-face communication which has dwindled since the advancement of technology.
Roberts has noted that the constant use of email as the only form of communication within the company has really affected effective business relationships. She feels that the employees at the company are finding it very difficult to build their rapport as a result. The policy which states that employees should avoid emailing other employees for at least one day a week is set in order to encourage the employees at the company to maximize other forms of communication like phone calls or face-to-face communication.
The article also looks into another case study of a company known as Alpine Access. This company simply uses emailing all the time as the only form of communication. Basically the company records zero face time with their more than 7000 employees. Important activities like hiring, training or day to day management are all controlled through the phone or electronically. This company feels that sometimes face-to-face communication is not possible and therefore they have come up with effective ways to compensate for their use of email in communication. The company believes that emails sent should have an element of clarity. On the other hand, those who receive the email are encouraged to read carefully and confirm they have understood what the email entails. If not, they are then allowed to ask questions for any clarification. Regular follow ups are conducted to ensure employees do not miss any critical information.
The other article, The Tethered Self: Technology Reinvents Intimacy and Solitude by Sherry Turkle also talks about how technology has taken over communication patterns today both in our social and professional lives. The author feels that as much as technology has come up to ease our way of communication and made it faster and more convenient, we cannot also forget the crucial fact that it is changing our personal outlook and that of our respective relationships whether professional or social.
Technology has brought about great volume and velocity in communication and this has greatly affected how people relate with each other both professionally and socially. For social purposes, people use technology like Facebook, twitter or text messages to communicate with friends and families. Many people also use such social communication forums to meet new people and engage in conversations. The technology has made it possible for people to broaden their connectivity to millions of people all over the world. The vast digital connections have offered people the illusion of companionship without necessarily the demands of friendship. For instance, a person on Facebook may have numerous people and this may cause him/her to create an illusion of companionship when in reality they do not actually have so many friends. Technology has therefore offered such people an opportunity to constantly connect with a person from a distance. This gives people some form of control as they are able to hide behind a keyboard and communicate. When people get accustomed to such forms of connection, then it is very difficult for such a person to communicate and bond with another human being on a more personal encounter.
To some people, communicating using technology has become a very unhealthy obsession. This is very common especially among young people who are constantly on the phone texting and uploading photos. This has created a very antisocial behavior among youths today as many cannot sit together and have a sensible communication. This unhealthy obsession has also affected how some of the children perform in school as they are constantly distracted by these communication devices.
Many teenagers today rely on texting as their main form of communication. This unhealthy habit has really deteriorated communication skills as the young people are not able to engage in conversations. Some shy away while others simply do not have anything to talk about unless they are typing it down. The digitally mediated communications have really affected social relationships of many young people. Over relying on text messaging as the main form of communication causes people to lose the emotional medium in communication (Turkle). An effective communication should be able to shift how a person feels, thinks or acts. With the text message, there is no tone of voice, nonverbal information or even facial expression. Therefore to some extent, the communication lacks emotion which is a very important part of any conversation.
From a professional point of view, email has been used as the main form of communication. Research show that over dependence on email at a work place can damage a company’s interactive communication. The use of email is very challenging especially when communicating sensitive and complicated information. There is always the issue of clarity as sometimes what is put in writing might send the wrong message that was not intended. It can also be very embarrassing when email messages are sent to the wrong person. This is very risky in a work place as people are expected to maintain a certain form of professionalism and respect and this may be damaged by a wrongly written email. It is very common that emails are misunderstood more real conversations.
When using emails to communicate, people tend to be very blunt and brutal compared to if they had a face-to-face communication. This can be alluded to the fact that a person feels less inhibited when behind a keyboard. This can lead to a series of conflicts which are believed to escalate very quickly. Criticism of other employees has been the main source of many email related conflicts. It is due to such reasons that employees are encouraged to have face encounters with others as often as possible. This will reduce the amount of conflict in the office and will allow the employees to foster a better working relationship with one another (Wellner).
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The main challenge of using email communication is usually lack on nonverbal signals. This suggests that not all information is automatically transferred. As a result, people therefore rely only on verbal information to decode the messages send to them. Several errors may arise when interpreting an incoming message as a person is left with impossible task of even decoding the emotions of the sender. In most instances, email message may contain ambiguous information and therefore this creates a lot of limits especially when communicating very delicate information. Chances of miscommunication are very high and this can lead to endless conflicts.
Basic human interaction is very important in any business setting. The over dependence of email communication at work has had very negative effect on interpersonal relationships within organizations. This has greatly affected how employees and customers interact together and as a result the services provided have been flawed. A strong and positive association between employees creates a healthy working environment that ensures effective production at any workplace. Healthy interpersonal relationship also allows employees to comfortably discuss various issues that affects them or the company and they can therefore brainstorm and come up with viable solutions. It is believed that an employee’s success at his/her workplace is highly dependent on how he/she relates with others. A harmonious working environment fuels major achievement in the workplace.
It is essential that face-to-face communication is encouraged especially in workplaces. This is because it will nature a rapport whereby the employees will feel comfortable around each other and hence they will have a healthy working environment where they can be productive. Nonetheless, it is an undeniable fact that technology has made communication very convenient and convenient and this has made our lives so much easier. Whether we are using technology to communicate socially or professionally, it is very important to ensure that we still maintain face-to-face communication. This is important in building our character and our bonds with people around us. Companies should create policies that encourage face-to-face communication once in a while in order to ensure a great rapport between the employees. Socially, it is not wrong to use technology to create connection with people all over the world. However, individuals are encouraged to pay more attention on creating real friendships that are based on face encounter conversations rather than virtual friendships on the web.
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- Turkle, Sherry. “The Tethered Self: Technology Reinvents Intimacy and Solitude.” Continuing Higher Education Review, 75 (2011): 28-31.
- Wellner, Alison Stein. “Lost in Translation.” Inc 1 Sep 2005: 6. Document.