Social communication

In college, I remember computers that could actually used in a regular setting were starting to make their appearance. I remember my first day of my first class in college. It was a journalism class. And our instructor proceeded to tell us that we were the first class to be required to type up our assignments on computer. We would need to purchase floppy disks by the box load. We would have to go to the brand new computer lab to work on our stories. Interesting. Then she announced that there would be a day when all forms of news would be readily available on the computer and that getting a newspaper delivered to the doorstep would become obsolute. And so there was this duel for a while of typewriter vs computer.

Today, more duels exist. There is the normal news outlet and the public’s response to that news and even providing more detail than that news outlet is willing to give. There is the television news reporters and then there is the guy on the corner with his phone getting hd quality footage ahead of the TV people. There is the still image and then there is the video footage of the same information. And still more tension between writing it all out or saying it on a video.

I am pretty smug in saying I have played in and around most of these kinds of duels. It’s true that you should use the right tool for the right job. That’s true in anything right. Sure you can use a stapler to hammer in that nail in the wall to hang a picture. But it’s not really the intended use for the stapler. Social communication is now consuming more and more of our time and the kinds of things being communicated on all these mediums is really a flood of our capacity to comprehend.

Why am I saying all this? The mediums for communication will seemingly continue to shift. The message though, needs to get better. When there is one voice and ten listeners, information is pretty clear, right or wrong, popular or not. When all ten listeners change their role and become voices, it becomes difficult to figure out who to listen to and what information actually needs to be acted upon. So the message, the one we care to communicate, needs to be better, more accurate, more useful, and at the very least, maybe more humorous.

I have noticed on Twitter that people are starting to reveal where they are. Nothing interesting about it. “At Starbucks.” Who cares? Why are you there? What are you having? Who are you with? Are you working there? Are you using their bathroom but not buying a beverage? Are you getting a gift card for someone? Are you getting some coffee beans? Are you getting a frap cuz it’s so hot? That is just a simple example of communicating better. I really am happy that you got a cow on Farmville. But that doesn’t help me know you or how I can help you or what I should know to become a better person. You got a cow. Good luck with that. Let me know when you butcher it so I can maybe share a steak with you.

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