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Should you flex your vocal chords or your fingers!

I have been working on this blog post for sometime, and the reason for delayed lack of completion has been down to the care I need to take in how I express my views. Having recently set up a new business that helps organisations to communicate better online, I worried there was a risk of slight contradiction on my part. So bear with me.

I see this blog as a little bit of a debate, and I’d love to receive my reader’s views. There are two very strong sides to the argument, and I wonder which side of the fence you will all sit on.

I am worried, genuinely worried about how smartphones and social media are impacting on society and our relationships. Do I think it’s a great way for businesses to reach out to individuals – absolutely !! However, I still believe there is a solid place for face to face communication.

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I am working on a project at the moment involving a hefty amount of nostalgia. While its (popular) rebirth is socially driven, for me it has personally opened my mind to how something which people are so passionate about was lost when its traditional original communication tool was taken away. So, in this case social media and online communication is reviving something special. Big tick for technology! But let’s look a little deeper.

The project I am working on relates to a variety of sports. And along with how the original communication method changed, there is also the impact of technology to consider on the sports themselves. I’ll explain. As part of the project I was looking at some old cricket publications. One thing that struck me, was the language used, and how the players referred to each other as businesses associates. So, cricket was a big way to network for gents in business in Hull back in the 1950s. Cool. Its not so much the case nowadays with online networking platforms and emails. To quote the elderly gent I questioned as to what happened back then “we got together face to face and had a pint”. Furthermore, in planning how to communicate online with key audiences, my colleague and I recognised that the way people consume sport has changed with technology, and while some traditional nuances exist (Saturday and Sunday games) there are lots of other changes to think about.

In considering all this, I started to think about how technology impacts us and our personal relationships. I am a huge believer and advocate of technology improving communications and our life, but, and this is a big BUT.

Let me ask you something.

  • When was the last time you got upset that someone didn’t reply to a text or what’s app message?
  • Or if someone didn’t like a photo you had posted on Facebook, or Instagram?
  • Or when did you last misread the contents of an email and had an emotional response to it?

I am absolutely certain we have all had some anxiety related to the above.

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Reliance on technology is a normal part of our everyday lives in the homes, schools etc. Our dinner table once traditionally a place for discussion has become invaded with smartphones. So are we on the edge of a conversational apocalypse or, is this just all part of our natural progression into the digital world?

 

I believe firmly that there are so many positives to today’s technology. I feel blessed to be able to communicate with people who without platforms such as Facebook, I wouldn’t be in touch with – whether it be old acquaintances, colleagues, distant family or friends on the other side of the world.

However, I do believe there is still a much needed place for face to face communication. I like to read someone’s body language, and facial expressions. I like to feel the tone of someone’s voice, have discussion and bounce around ideas. While emails have a solid place in business and relationships, not much gets done. I challenge people to get together and not be productive, positive and feel energised afterwards.

Myself and my colleagues like to plan face to face, and use technology to help manage us and our time and tasks accordingly.  So is it about striking an important balance? How do we survive in today’s technology driven world?

With clear sides to both arguments, I ask you these key questions:

  • Is technology harming our personal communication or has it created an avenue to expand and enrich our lives?
  • Do we need to give into technology and move because that’s what we are expected to do? How do we make it work on our terms?

Answers on a postcard, pigeon messenger, letter…… or Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, website, apple watch, snapchat, googleplus pinterest (I rest my case!.

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