Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The New Age of Communication

When I first started blogging a few things I was worried about were no one will read it, and I'll get so into it I will not have any time for my girlfriend. Well I guess, looking at my statistics, people are reading it. I have however found that I did seem to get a little obsessed with it and had little time for my girlfriend. I noticed this Friday evening when finishing my blog about my rant on people not using the English language as well as they once did. I wanted to finish it off and spent a lot of the evening checking it and re-checking it before finally publishing it at nine at night! I do not think she was very impressed!

Talking with my other people I have noticed that blogging does seem a little introverted. I have started to wonder about modern society and wonder about what is happening with the world. I have been thinking about people’s relationship with modern technology and if this is helping modern relationships …

To start I would like to say that I am no way a techy and no way up to date with modern technology. I have only just purchased a new mobile telephone that gives me full internet access and the ability to play music I want. I think it does lots of other things too that I am not yet intelligent enough to know about. It is very new however and quite modern. My old phone simply allowed me to send text messages, telephone people and tell the time! I am a little old-school and do not enjoy computer games. I use a computer all day at work and so in the evening the last thing I want to do is to stay starring at a computer all evening!

My basic questions are with all this new technology about that has been said to improve communication and build relationships, it is? What are we communicating? Also who are we actually communicating to?

I come from a time when I had to remember to take 10p out with me so I could phone my Mum from a phone box if an emergency should arise. I would like to take each medium in turn and explain my views about them and ask some questions:

Mobile Telephones
I did not get a mobile telephone until I was nineteen. I used for emergencies and sent the occasional message to friends to see where they were and if they wanted to go for a beer. I did find that these became more and more popular and they started being banned in lecture theatres and people had to be told to turn them off! I found the same thing happened in cinemas, theatres and libraries. I am still surprised that people need to be told of this, as it is only generally polite as people should do this automatically. Other things I found were people were using them to find out what time people would be meeting and if people where at a certain place. Now I do not understand this as before mobile telephones we would say what time people would be somewhere before they left home. This did not change and people were where they said they would be at that time! Mobile telephones seemed to encourage people not to be organised and change their times for meeting and not always be where they said would be. To me this is not increasing communication. It is increasing irresponsibility for not doing what has been previously arranged! I know we live in a busy age, but it is still rude to be late or to rescind on a meeting date.

I happened to be in an informal meeting the other day at work and there was someone on their mobile telephone throughout it, pressing buttons, checking updates or something. That I felt was very rude and although he seemed to join in with the general flow of the meeting, it did not seem he was fully communicating and involved with the meeting.  I notice a few people in my office have their mobile telephones on their desks and have to keep picking it up and checking them. I do not find this effective communication. Are there so concerned with missing a message that they fail to fully concentrating on their jobs! Surely this will lead to missing something.

Social Networking Sites
I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account and have many friends and followers on each. I enjoy Facebook and finding out what people have been doing and like looking at pictures of people I knew years ago. I guess this is me being nosey but I guess this is the appeal. A lot of the people on there I would not really classify as friends but maybe acquaintances that I know or knew. Dangers obviously come when people accept friends they do not know and maybe using for dating. I see social network sites as a bit of fun but not to put on there too much about myself. People who really matter to me I will write to or phone them up to talk to about what I am doing. I will share photos with them when I see them and also my true thoughts and feelings. I lot of people put their every event, every thought and every feeling out there. Furthermore dangerously that can also say where in the world they are!

I like that on Twitter you can follow celebrities and look up their news. Twitter does limit the amount of letters you can use. I do not think I could truly express myself giving a limited number of letters. A number of celebrities or well-known people should engage their brains before using it though! As far as communication goes I guess it gives a brief insight into people you know, once knew or people you are interested in.  I am not crazy enough to put anything too serious on any social networking sites. I do not know who is watching! Plus I do not really know who would care? Sometimes I write things just to provoke a discussion, a bit like this article! In their defence however it can bring together people of similar interests and a chance to talk to people of similar interests from around the world. They can also be a great marketing tool. Mainly, I admit, I have these social network sites to be nosey and think a lot of other people do too even if they do not admit it!  

Finally blogging … I am enjoying blogging and gives me a chance to write about my view of the world in as much depth or as limited detail as I want. I am not sure what it achieves or if it increases communication but I enjoy it! It gets a lot of ideas and thoughts of my chest. It is sort of insular and I use it to talk a lot about me and my view of the world. There are however opportunities to comment and do not mind this. I am not sure who reads these blogs at any length but I guess some people do. I do not really read that many other peoples blogs but may start. I suppose they can be used as a sort of diary but I am using mine (at the moment), as a guide to my view on life. I do not think my life is interesting enough to keep a day to day diary. I may blog things I have done or things I want to do but not regularly every day!

My questions are who reads these blogs? Are people really interested? Is it really communicating or am I just writing to myself? My blogs so far have been quiet lengthy and taken a bit of time to write and therefore has cut me off from the outside world. I do not think they have increased my overall communication as I have been so involved with writing them I have not overly spoken with my girlfriend when wanting to complete a particular article. I also have not been outside to get some fresh air or exercise and I have not had my tea yet! This could lead to trouble!

In conclusion I am going to set myself the following rules for better communication in the modern world. You do not have to agree or disagree but I think it will have to work for me. I will often try to review this list to see if it remains true:
  • Use my mobile for the occasional text message to see how good friends and family are but phone them up and talk to them to make arrangements.
  • Keep to those arrangements unless emergencies get in the way.
  • Continue to be nosey on social network sites but do not put anything personal on there.
  • Turn my mobile on to silent or off when at work, in meetings or when meeting with others.  
  • Only be friends on the social networks with people you would not mind chatting to on the phone or going for a drink with.
  • Remove friends you have only met once and know nothing really about.
  • Blogging – Do a bit but take regular breaks and it can take a few days or weeks to write a blog.
  • Not all blogs have to be long essays!
  • Go out, get some exercise, meet with people and talk to people on the telephone.
  • Stop typing this blog soon and get some exercise!

My final conclusion is that although we have all these new ways to communicate it does not necessarily mean we are better at it and we have better friends and better relationships with people. We may all be communicating outwards but not really sure if our information is being received. If messages are rather short then a full message is not being understood or it is just an edited high or low point then the full story is not being communicated. Are these new ways to communicate actually communication or a cry out for attention? Do people communicate for the sake of communicating when there is nothing really to say? Do they communicate the wrong information and miss out the important things of what time they will be home or what time they will meet? Furthermore if people are not fully communicating back (such as on Facebook statuses) and it is not being received than this is this really communicating at all? If everyone is all busy trying to communicate and be heard then no one has time to listen? Who is listening? Has anyone really read this whole article to the end?


  1. It is communication but not as we knew it...

    Were you ever a letter writer Tim? I used to write to friends and family all the time before mobiles became ubiquitous. I suppose blogging is filling that gap a little for me, as is facebook. At least FB means I get to wish most of my friends a happy birthday, where I rarely remember in time to send a card!

  2. I read it a llllll the way to the end. Does this mean you'll be unfriending me on FB?? ;)

  3. As with every tool, gadgets and gizmos to communicate are only as good as those who wield them. Had it not been for internet radio I would not have met my partner and would not have been blessed with a vivacious daughter! I feel that written words are so very often susceptible to miscommunication on t'internets, so I am either verbose to the point of meandering in order to make sure i have not implied anything untoward or so brief that hopefully no one has time in make inferences that had simply not occurred to me in the first place. True to say that simple is not the same as stupid!

    All this to eradicate that most annoying 1 comments! ;D