No, we haven’t lost our command of the English language quiet yet. But we might need to adjust our understanding of communication yet again, as technology is not only changing our methods of communication – from letter to telegram to phone call to email to messaging to twittering to video calls… – but also the way we approach and utilize our communication streams.
For example, how often do you write letters these days? A letter that is not an invoice. Emails have become the new (personal) letters that allow you to put your thoughts and feeling into well formed words and phrases.
Or is an email supposed to be something quick, just to share some important data, as blogger Sharon Drew Morgen proposed. Are emails really only “one-way missives” that do not allow a true sharing of thoughts and feelings? In short – is emailing even communicating?
Is this just a symptom of our fast-moving age, where nobody has the time anymore to sit down and read a long email before composing an answer? Or is it the exact opposite? Are old understandings of communication popping up again in a new look?
Ever since the Internet came into existence along with emailing, there have been critical voices saying that all this virtual stuff cannot make up for personal meetings at all. And indeed, smileys have been introduced to virtual conversations to make up for the loss of seeing another person’s facial expressions, demeanor, or hearing their tone of voice.
Well-known (and very funny!) comedian Arj Barker highlighted this in his stand-up shows earlier this year. Although he has said this for the sake of his comedy routine, his point is interesting that communicating tone of voice via digital communication can at times be confusing. For the humorous side of new-age communication, check out his lines on this at approx. 2min 02 sec in the video below.
But Sharon Drew’s blog entry is not a swan song for virtual communication. Rather technology now makes it possible to have old-style communication via the Internet. Video calls allow you to hear and see your opponent in real time. Desktop sharing could even replace the family get-together to watch your uncle’s slideshow of the latest holiday snaps.
So, is communication coming full circle or is the Internet taking it to a completely different level?