Is Technology Fostering Unreasonable Communication Expectations?

Ever been called a chain caller? Can you admit to sending a text immediately after leaving a voicemail?Left a skype mesage after the skype call was not answered?  Have you checked someone’s FB wall for activity to see how long its been since they communicated…Physcho? Nope – your just a victim of technology.  Gone are the days when we were satisfied a person was just “not home” when no one answered the phone . Now when WE want to communicate – WE EXPECT an answer NOW!!!- if not an instantaneous one,  one within, well at least a “reasonable” time frame. (Reasonable in this instance may well be defined by the number of possible mechanisms on which messages may be left – if you include the social media realm, within 10 odd minutes, a person could have at least 7 messages left for them!)

Have you been a victim of confusion listening to persons younger than you communicate? Do you find yourself suddenly thrusted to the google access nearest you to find the meaning of accronyms? Yep, Tweens (a new term in itself describing 9-13 year older are FOREVER evolving communication) bringing text and social media sites into day to day converation! Enter OMG, TTYL, XOXO, KISSES and even BBM, FB, Tweet etc. These phrases have become universal – eating away at the very cultures the internet so readily allows us to explore. I PERSONALLY have heard OMG SAID in Japan and wondered ‘Which god are they referring to?’

You have two choices “peeps” – roll with the punches or FOREVER (exasperated) sound like your oldest relative as you constantly seek clarification. Here are some basic tips to help you navigate the ever changing world of communication and in keeping yourself sane despite the unreasonable communication expectations of others  (especially the more youthful).

  1. Glance through  www.mashable.com at least twice a week: With its varied articles on everything social media, Mashable has its pulse on evolving technology and the jargon (read – new phrases) inculcated therein)
  2. Communicate to the preference of your audience: ASK – do you prefer voicemail or text messages? Email or phone calls? Or hell, be even more proactive and SAY “listen, the BEST way to reach me is by (choose one) text/email/voicemail/mobile/office number/ facebook”. This way, your intended audience knows which is the best mechanism from you to look out for feedback;
  3. Disconnect: Check your voicemail no more than twice a day. Don’t reply to every email AS it comes it (set an alarm so email/ phone calls/ text messages from key people like your boss make a different “sound” when they hit your inbox so you don’t miss them. Remember, YOU set the standards as to how people will communicate with you. “Be the change you want to see”;
  4. Learn the lingo: OMG (oh my god/goodness) its 2 easy 2 learn to talk & type in SMS (short message system) format. Have fun with it in casual communication and it can save you time. Leave it OUT of official communication – its not okay to address colleagues in a work email as “peeps” or “u” or to end a work email with TTYL! Be professional – that’s the mark of a true communication prof (joke!).
  5. LOL About it: (Laugh Out Loud) about the way communication has changed and use humour as a way to get your message about being more “sane” when it comes to communication accross to others. For example, I stopped sending email messages at 3am to my team (all equipped with blackberries) after one joked about my “work inspired insomnia”…it was a little office joke – but it got my attention – I have OUTLOOK delay sending messages until 7am now – by 7 they’re usually  at least awake and a bit more receptive to a flashing light on their bberry. Guess what? Since then – lots more smiles in the am

In summary, everyone’s communication style is different. Whether tech savvy or technically challenged, we all need to focus on our listener/ audience before we communicate using ANY mechanism. Be considerate. Be sane and most of all – be reasonable – leaving 5 messages by different channels is just, well, stalker-like!

TTYL!

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