It’s a sad thing to say, but even I find it difficult to remember what we were doing to communicate before social media became what they are today… So I thought I’d try to remember and put my thoughts in a blog…
You went to your doctor’s appointment and called your mom right after to tell her she’d be a grandma!
You sent wedding invitations through regular mail (we even call it snail mail now!) months in advance and waited for the paper replies or for a bunch of phone calls.
Your kids invited your friends to their birthday party by giving out invitations at school.
At work, you gave a call to your HR department to sort an employee’s situation.
You set up meetings with your team on a regular basis.
You organized a teleconference with your international partners at a mutually convenient time (which sometimes meant about 6 a.m.!)
You post your first ultrasound picture to your Facebook and tag all your friends and family members to announce you’re pregnant!
You send an eVite to your resort wedding and create a virtual photo album when you come back. (ok, maybe you’ll still call grandma!)
Your kids create their own Facebook birthday event.
At work, you email the HR department, CC’ing your boss and the concerned employee, which starts a series of emails.
You set up virtual team meetings, exchange emails, PIN and text colleagues.
You organize a Google Hangout conference with your international partners on LinkedIn, and those who can’t be there on time can join after the fact and post their comments.
I’m not sure what was best : before or now. I think it’s a matter of how comfortable you are with laying your life online, with technologies, with the numerous social media networks, with being genuine…
Just a few years ago, I was teaching my beginner English students that human communications were about 70 % physical and emotional and only about 10 % about the words you use. I think this explains very well what we’re losing with the current social media networks. It’s getting easier to stay in touch, but we’ve often lost the actual ˝touch˝.
It’s easier to stay in touch with people around the world. We can see pictures of our friends’ new babies, weddings, travels, etc. However, it’s difficult to detect emotions on social media or even on text messages. Who hasn’t been misunderstood in a text, a chat or even on a Facebook or Twitter comment?
It’s also easier to hide behind words on social media than in person or over the phone. However, those words have the same power online than if they had been said in person (for example, Lougheed Imports Ltd. v. United Food… ).
On the other hand, in a government environment, social media has for me a HUGE impact regular, old-fashioned media : easy measurements. Most social media offer some kind of tracking, counter, etc. With government reporting processes, these data are essential.
Social technologies have broken the barriers of space and time, but it has spawned a set of new barriers and threats. Are we now focusing more on quantity rather than quality? Are we abandoning authenticity? Despite their name SOCIAL media can make us highly UN-social.