Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 6:54 pm (communication, human interaction, technology)
I’m probably a rare Web/techie type. I don’t necessarily care about bigger, better, fancier Web sites. I want a simple site that acts as I expect it would without too many bells and whistles. After all, the Web is about quick information right? Get in, find what I need, get back out. Sure sometimes I can browse aimlessly on the Internet. Other times I’d rather not be attached to my computer screen.
I attack my email in the same manner: quickly. In fact, I tend to check my personal account only once or twice a week. (Did you just gasp?) Email is helpful for business. Not all business, but some business. It’s also useful for quick replies to family and friends. If I want to contact someone, though, email is not always my first thought. I’ll pick up the phone, maybe send a postcard. (For those born in the 1990s, a postcard is a paper rectangle with a picture on one side and blank on the other. You handwrite a note, address it, stamp it, and drop it in the real mail.)
U.S. Cellular’s Vice President, Jay Ellison, must feel the same way about our “advancements.” Last year, he instituted a policy whereby email between officemates is not allowed on Fridays. The alternative? Face-to-face discussions and phone calls. Employees are also encouraged to pick up the phone to contact clients on Fridays, rather than send email. Phone calls, even short ones, are more personal. (See Companies limit e-mail use to boost productivity for more on U.S. Cellular’s initiative.)
Technology has certainly made a lot of tasks in our daily lives easier. It’s also become a bit of an obsession to some. Yes, I fit this category sometimes, too. Particularly when faced with a new project.
The thing is, I’m interested in how technology can better my life, not become my life. I am all for simplifying. If that means sending an email, so be it. If email is complicating my to do list, then it’s not useful.
Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 10:34 pm (communication, internet, web)
Blogs fascinate me. As yet another interesting commentary on our society, many employ blogs as a means to express themselves. There is no consistency. Some blogs are filled with facts and research, some are personal diatribes, some are strictly business.
In Seth Godin’s recent post, If no one reads your post, does it exist?, he argues “the act of writing a blog changes people.” While I’m new at this, I agree with his point. Having a blog means you must have something to say, and you must say it well. What better way to learn about yourself?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 5:35 pm (communication, human interaction, internet, web)
Social interaction has certainly changed over the years. Sarcasm, for instance, is commonplace in many conversations, but this wasn’t always the case. Now that the Internet provides a way to communicate by typing, all of the cues provided in speech and body language are lost.
One commonly used statistic is that in communication only 7 percent of the meaning is gained from the actual words. Roughly 38 percent comes from vocal cues and the remaining 55 percent from facial expressions. This implies that only very basic literal meaning can be gleaned from a typed message.
Who cares? Well, the person you just emailed might. In a New York Times essay, Daniel Goleman explains, “if we are typing while agitated, the absence of information on how the other person is responding makes the prefrontal circuitry for discretion more likely to fail” (Flame First, Think Later: New Clues to E-Mail Misbehavior, February 20). This means your message may be interpreted differently than you intended. You may have inadvertently offended the recipient because you were unable to alter your speech based on their reactions.
Routine communications have changed with technology. Take the absence of nonverbal cues and add the factor of people feeling less inhibited behind their computers, then there is a whole new dynamic to human interaction.
Before you hit send, read your message to make certain it is clear. It’s just good practice anyway.