Communication in the Face Book era


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Communication in the Face Book era

  1. 1. Communication in theFace book (FB) era(Communication –Then & Now)Jayadeva de SilvaSwiss psychologist Jean Piaget demonstrated that, when two youngchildren talk, they do so in monologue. Each child speaks inresponse to the fact that the other child has spoken but ignoreswhat the other child has actually said.As we develop, we learn how to enter into a proper dialogue witheach other. We are now living era where the social-media era ispart of a technology-driven trend that favors monologue-typecommunication and creates significant pitfalls when it comes tobuilding effective interdependent relationships. We need to findout how to overcome these pitfalls and build effectiveinterdependent relationships in the social-media era. 1
  2. 2. If you go back through history, you can see that the world ofcommunication has gone through a period of immense change. In1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster.Before that, communication was limited and, for the most part,person-to-person. Dialogue ruled supreme as the communicationtool of preference. It was about 100 years later, in the 1870s, thatthe telephone was invented. Over the ensuing years, peoplediscovered they could communicate with each other much moreeasily using this new communication medium.For all its undoubted ease of use, telephone conversations dohowever lack nonverbal cues that can be extremely importantwhen dealing with others. These cues help each of us to adjustcontinuously what we say during a conversation in ways that takeinto account the other persons reactions to what we are saying. Asa result, the introduction of the telephone eliminated an importantelement of dialogue.Subsequently, the advent of the computer led to the Internet andthe advent of email. Unfortunately, while this is an even more easy-to-use method of communication in which both parties arerelieved of the task of thinking on their feet, it completelyeliminates all spontaneous cues from the other person. Because ofthis ease of use, very soon after its introduction, emailing took overfrom telephoning as the preferred method of communication. As people favored ease of communication over the rigors ofeffective dialogue, relationship building suffered. If you look at thecontent of emails as compared with telephone conversations or one-on-oneinteractions, you see a much greater focus on task first, relationship second.Time moved on, and nowadays, many people dont answer theirmobile phones but rely on voice-mail communication. Throughoutall of these changes, people have favored ease of communicationover effectiveness of communication and have become less andless motivated to put real effort into relationship building. Theworld became task focused and people had less time for theniceties of real-life interaction. Not surprisingly, manners, 2
  3. 3. deference toward others, and the capacity to express oneselfeffectively have all became casualties in the process.Nowadays we have Face book, Linked In, and Twitter, to mentionbut a few of the ever-increasing social-media resources nowavailable to us all. These continue to encourage us to place less andless emphasis on interactive dialogue as the basis of interpersonalcommunication. While we all feel we are communicating effectivelywhen we use these tools, true dialogue has given way to a shallowform of monologue.This adversely impacts each of us negatively when it comes torelationships. There is a clear challenge that each of us needs toaddress if we are to avoid the pitfalls created by the social-mediaera. 3