Let’s have an email about this tonight

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?

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