An Extension of Communication

At least once a day, I find a new article on the dangers of the internet and the online world. After reading article after article by industry professionals, I am starting to take them seriously. Social media is one of the greatest and most detrimental inventions out there. One must be versed in it to use it effectively and safely. We all have to work to use instant messaging as a tool to extend our communication not hamper it.

Professional networking is one of the reasons why I use social media all the time. LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional networking site with 396 million users as of 2015’s fourth quarter (Statista). It is a great place to keep work connections in one place. LinkedIn is one of many types of interest networks on the internet. The internet is so personal which is why it is so popular. Of course this is all too good to be true. Just as it has its advantages, the internet also has its dangers. Dangers from the internet seems to target adolescents saying that youth are “vulnerable to such evils as Facebook depression, sexting, and cyberbullying, which are realistic threats [and] other problems such as social network-induced obesity, Internet addiction and sleep deprivation are issue (Suren Ramasubbu, 2015). Government and nonprofit programs have been introduced to youth to teach them about internet ethics and safety but in the end, it will be up to the user to heed these warnings.

Katherine Bindley wrote in her article, “When Children Text All Day, What Happens To Their Social Skills?” about Melissa Ortega who is a child psychologist at New York’s Child Mind Institute. Ortega brought up a an intriguing point about people who grew up with technology and kids who are growing up dependent on technology saying that she couldn’t imagine these people doing well in a job interview (Bindley, 2011). This point is unsettling for me because I am that person. I grew up as a technological and digital native, I use my phone as an avoidance strategy and I don’t always do well in surprise social interactions. But I am going to need a job.

Technology and the internet can seem like this shiny and innovative thing to some people but learning about this technology was just the same as learning everything else as I grew up. At times, it can seem like I have already won in the job market because I know how these things work. However, it is that physical interpersonal communication that may set myself apart.

From various professors, articles and professionals, I have gathered the three best tips for effective communication.

  1. Be evolutionary, not revolutionary: This piece of advice comes from my public relations professor Kevin Brett. Many of us could just drop everyone who is not online and leave them out of the conversation forever but we all have things to benefit from each other. One way we keep offline users in the loop is to gradually introduce them to new communication technologies or take it upon ourselves to learn new technologies and share the knowledge.
  2. Make the effort to have face-to-face conversations: Jeff Boss from Forbes wrote in his article “5 Ways To Boost Your Leadership Impact From Afar,” “distance is not an excuse for poor communication. Meeting people face to face is still the most effective means of building a mutual understanding” (2014). Most of the information we get from conversation comes from nonverbal ques as research tells us. This means that the best relationships are built in person.
  3. Stay positive: This piece of advice is useful in any situation. Especially with communication, staying positive in mind and with body language is important to get people to want to understand us. Royale Scuderi wrote in “9 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills,” “People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind even when expressing concerns or displeasure” (Lifehack).

Social media’s power is a concept that has changed for me as I come from being a user to a content creator. I and many other Millennials, are the heaviest users so the internet and social media. There are pros and cons to this as it advances us technologically but disadvantages us communicatively. Taking the time to practice face-to-face skills is something that I know I need to work on and encourage others to do the same. Utilizing advice from the mentors around me is the best advantage I have.

References

Bindley, K. (2011, December 10). When Children Text All Day, What Happens To Their Social Skills? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/children-texting-technology-social-skills_n_1137570.html

Biro, M. M. (2015, November 12). The Myths and Reality of the Workplace Generational Divide. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meghan-m-biro-/the-myths-and-reality-of-_b_8537830.html

Boss, J. (2014, September 16). 5 Ways To Boost Your Leadership Impact From Afar. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2014/09/16/5-ways-to-boost-your-leadership-impact-from-afar/#7f9a97907c07

LaFata, A. (2014, September 15). Stop Texting: It’s Actually (Scientifically And Psychologically) F*cking Up Your Life. Retrieved from http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/psychology-modern-day-texting-5-reasons-actually-ruining/752583/

Ramasubbu, S. (2015, June 26). Influence of Social Media on Teenagers. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suren-ramasubbu/influence-of-social-media-on-teenagers_b_7427740.html

Scuderi, R. (n.d.). 9 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/9-tips-to-improve-communication-skills.html

Statista. (n.d.). LinkedIn: Numbers of members 2015 | Statistic. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/274050/quarterly-numbers-of-linkedin-members/

Numbers of LinkedIn members from 1st quarter 2009 to 3rd quarter 2015 (in millions)

Credit for featured photot [an throwing up rainbow] goes to Shutterstock.com as cited from http://www.buzzfeed.com/joannaborns/slang-terms-for-vomiting#.sv42KB2gj

An interesting term I came across in my research if you want to check it out, “Socially Aggressive Narcissism.” http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/mar/17/facebook-dark-side-study-aggressive-narcissism

 

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