COM 0011 – Blog 4 – Communications before and after social media

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…

BEFORE

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.!)

NOW

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.

My conclusions

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.

4 thoughts on “COM 0011 – Blog 4 – Communications before and after social media

  1. So true, my how time flies! I also remember when you used to know 20-30 phone numbers by heart or you used to have a small book to keep them in. How people hide behind the laptop screen and claim to be social but a very real reality check is your comment how we are becoming more and more anti-social with all this social media hype. I think you nailed it when you ask a question about quantity vs quality, it’s all about how many social media sites can you link together so that your pictures and posts can travel faster than everyone else’s. Enjoyed reading your blog.

    • Thanks Arina! Gosh! you’re so right about us knowing all those phone numbers by heart! I should thank my parents for having no social media presence: I still have to dial their number!
      I might be a little “dark” at times when analysing social media, maybe because I use it for work… but I swear I can still see some good in it! 😉

  2. Although social media can be beneficial for marketing and business purposes, I think it does cause some negativity and issues in our personal lives. I think of all the drama that has been started over social media – the narcissism, the constant seeking of attention, cyber bullying… it has created many problems that did not exist before. I agree that people today, especially children, are growing up not knowing how to communicate face to face – something that is so valuable and irreplaceable in life. It is becoming a bit scary. So much has changed with the evolution of social media – I am nervous and anxious to see what happens next!

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