In a world that is becoming increasingly text, email, and social media heavy, I often reflect on the ongoing decline of effective communication and problem solving skills that I observe.
Text and Email ...
I contend that the two most ineffective means of any substantive communication are text and email. Yet, I observe others relying increasingly on these forms for just that ... effective and substantive communication. Guess what that leads to ... misinterpretations, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, irritations, and damaged relationships (temporarily and/or permanently). People rarely get the meaning you intend. There is too much room for interpretation.
I have heard many horror stories of people who dissect and spend hours analyzing an email or text (in which their analysis will ultimately be flawed) instead of actually having a conversation with the other party.
One of the main dangers of these forms of communication is that it perpetuates the challenge that many of us face ... discomfort with confrontation or conflict. Most people hate conflict and therefore use emailing or texting as "escape" routes, thinking this will make them safe and "protect" them from an uncomfortable conversation, when, in reality, it will ultimately cause more challenges for those involved.
The point is this. Think about why you are emailing or texting. Is it to say "I will be 5 minutes late" or "You're a jerk"?. If you are sending an email or text to say "You are a jerk," or something equally inappropriate, then you want to rethink that strategy.
Social Media ...
Social media has similar pitfalls as texts and emails:
1) People may or may not get the meaning you intend, which can lead to people becoming misinformed about you or your intentions.
2) You never get to take it back. It will be out there forever. Post wisely. Employers do make hiring decisions based on Google searches.
Remember this ... tone, body language, sarcasm, and inflection do not come across in texting, emailing, and social media. Communicate with caution in these forms and use sparingly. They have pitfalls that can lead to unfortunate outcomes.