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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Are Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication? | Susan Tardanico, Forbes

Every relevant metric shows that we are interacting at breakneck speed and frequency through social media. But are we really communicating? ...
That's a question Susan Tardanico asks early in this article, after telling a tragic story about how the recent online communication between a mother and her daughter in college wasn't as honest--and hopeful--as it seemed. 

Tardanico continues, answering and responding to other related questions about the benefits and problems caused by using social media to communicate among family and friends--and, especially, in the workplace.
Social technologies have broken the barriers of space and time, enabling us to interact 24/7 with more people than ever before. But like any revolutionary concept, it has spawned a set of new barriers and threats. Is the focus now on communication quantity versus quality; superficiality versus authenticity? ...
Rushed and stressed, people often do not take the time to consider the nuances of their writing. Conflicts explode over a tone of an e-mail, or that all-important cc: list. When someone writes a text in all capital letters, does it mean they’re yelling? Are one- or two-word responses a sign that the person doesn’t want to engage? On the flip side, does a smiley face or an acknowledgement of agreement really mean they’re bought in and aligned? ...
So in this wired world, what’s our new golf course? How do we communicate effectively and build deeper, more authentic relationships when we have only words (truncated at best) instead of voice, face and body expression to get all the important and powerful nuances that often belie the words? ...
Tardanico concludes her article with "Six Tips for Keeping E-Communication Real." They are well worth reading and putting into practice:
  • Address your issues. 
  • Check yourself. 
  • Acknowledge the challenge.
  • Don’t cop out.
  • Be aware of the say-do gap. 
  • Keep the communication two-way.


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