By Richard Ray
It is perhaps one of life’s greatest ironies, that as technology has provided us with more ways to communicate with each other, effective and meaningful communication appears more and more difficult for people to attain.
The internet and social media provide a platform. That platform has different meaning and significance to each person, but it is there to provide a voice for a narrative if people want to say something and be heard. Technology has afforded us the ability to communicate to the world, real time, all the time through several different platforms.
We are never out of touch. We have cell phones, with unlimited calls, unlimited texts, unlimited data and no long distance or roaming. We are now able to travel with our phones out of the country, where for a nominal fee you can get pro rated international plans during the time of your stay or simply just use wifi to communicate thru vehicles such as WhatsApp for free and let’s not forget Skype.
There is every opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones, fans and followers. The irony is that the more tools we are given to communicate with each other it appears the more we are actually disconnected from effectively communicating with each other. My definition of effective communication is two people in a discourse in which both listen to the other and communicate ideas or points back and forth reflective of understanding what the other party is trying to convey, inclusive of the emotions that can be an important part of the communication.
Instead people have all of these tools to stay in touch, but the art of effectively communicating is too often lost behind peopel hiding behind the technology to avoid real discussions. I know I am not the only one that has had ongoing text conversations with people in my own household while we were in the same house. My house is not small… but it isn’t that big.
It is just easier for people to text, or post their feelings about their relationships or issues they are having with people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat instead of speaking on the phone directly, or heaven forbid actually speak for real in person. We are never out of contact, but are we losing the ability to actually effectively talk to and communicate with each other? I think so, but it is not a problem that is not insurmountable to correct.
So much of communication is the desire to do it well. You have to be an active listener. You have to be someone who wants to understand what the other person is trying to convey and not just someone who has to get their own point across. Social media is good for that… trying to make points, control or create a narrative. It is not good at allowing people to communicate effectively while taking into account the emotions or feelings that may be involved in a conversation.
We are increasingly part of a society that will allow us to never be disconnected from either our families or followers. Whatever that may mean to you, being connected should never be confused with being a substitute for effective and real communication. We hide behind devices, as we stay in touch, but lose a real sense of connection and understanding on what it is like to communicate with real people in a real way. The good part is that, if willing, we all have the ability to communicate better.
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