• Patrick McAndrew

The Purpose of Digital Communication

Sometimes when I’m stuck and I don’t know what to write about, I will search the almighty Internet for an article or YouTube video to write about.  Yes, even on a website called “The Low Tech Trek,” even I rely on the Internet for some help, actually A LOT of help.  There is a lot of good information out there!  An exchange of information is, often, only a good thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of communication; in the home, at work, in schools, and everywhere else.  What are smartphones and the increased dependence on technology doing to our communication skills?  I thought I would do some investigating to find out.

I stumbled upon this little ditty on Youtube.  A man named Mike Moore posted a video about Communication in the Digital Age.  It doesn’t have many views, but his words are profound.  He talks about how using digital communication is great for exchanging information and for follow up.  He then states that digital communication should not be used for actual communication to resolve issues, get things done, or build relationships.  His words are simple, but shouldn’t be overlooked.

We must not be too reliant on our digital communication.  It shouldn’t be a substitute for actual communication, though many people use it in that way.  Communication skills have always been so essential in our world, both on a national and international level.  How we communicate with one another truly dictates our lives. 

The way in which we communicate forms our relationships.  Without communication, there is no relationship.  Without developing empathy, understanding, and comprehension when talking with one another, no positive relationship can possibly be formed.  This is the crux of many of our problems in world history.  A lack of communication leads to a lack of understanding.  People from different religious backgrounds, different ethnicities, different cultures, and different political parties fail to understand and empathize with one another because they fail to communicate.

Communication is becoming quite a scarce resource today.  Although there have always been individuals throughout human history who have lacked in the art of communication, the problem is expedited because we now have devices which can transmit our communication digitally, fully edited and concise.  We don’t need to fumble through awkward conversations if we don’t want to. We can stay behind the security of our screens.  An example of this is the quiet, seemingly harmless student who says some of the most awful things online.  What are the repercussions?

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Well, human beings are not dogs and communication isn’t a bag of tricks.  We can always work towards bettering our communication.  It isn’t rocket science.  But like any skillset, it must be practiced and exercised or else it will atrophy, and we won’t even realize it.  I would argue that most people who are poor communicators do not realize they are poor communicators.  They don’t have the self-awareness to realize that they are having a negative impact on those around them.

Be mindful of your communication moving forward.  Try to reserve digital communication for follow up and exchanging information.  Leave the more substantial matters to real communication.  Sure, we may fumble and feel awkward, but we felt the same way when we started tying our shoes and now most of us can do so without even thinking about it.

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