Pros And Cons Of Using Social Media On The Development Of Our Communication Skills
Does social media kill communication skills?
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Here's my take on why social media can have a positive effect on our communication skills.
Let’s take some responsibility
If you stop communicating and simply rely on technology to send information, then you have to take responsibility for allowing technology to change your efficiency. Social channels provide a communication tool that enables people to share/discuss information instantly and globally. I would argue that this is actually opening up inter-personal skills and improving communication; reach has grown exponentially.
Take the example of the recent United Airlines PR disaster – Dave Carroll’s use of YouTube highlighted the issue of poor customer service to a global audience (over 3.6m video views) who in turn got involved in the debate and spread the original content across their networks as well as commenting on what happened. The result?
* A single communication affecting millions of people.
* Generation of new dialogue and engagement.
* Sharing of thoughts and opinions to influence an outcome, as United Airlines apologised publicly.
Just because that engagement took place virtually without face-to-face contact is not in itself negative. Without social media this conversation would never have taken place.
Let’s take another recent example with the snowball that is Twitter. Habitat miss-used trending hashtags. The effect? A surge of criticism chastising Habitat for what was, at best, naivety.
Whilst the focus of conversation was on the morals of Habitat’s actions, this also raised awareness of the genuine news story regarding the Iran Election. Opinions were shared, blog posts created and a major discussion ensued. I think this is progressive. Not every comment was constructive but the ‘real world’ is not utopian either.
I read an interesting comment yesterday that argued, “Just as it's harder to write a one page summary than a 20 page report, it takes considerable skill to communicate clearly and unambiguously in just 140 characters.” With only 140 characters to write, micro blogging could actually help improve communication as people focus on what is relevant and important.
Yes I accept that some tweets are poorly structured (others perhaps done without any real purpose) but I’ve sat in many a pub where the same applies to the general banter! And who decides what valuable communication is anyway? Surely that is the recipient’s honour?
Learning from the community could be beneficial
Empathy is essential if you are to get people to engage with you in social channels, then somebody who lacks inter-personal skills is likely to struggle with online communication too. As an individual you can learn quickly from others in your online community and you will know if people aren’t responding, some will tell you directly others will simply tune out. It takes time, dedication and commitment to become a valuable...