Communication Today

On Communications in the 2010s

It’s 2011 of course, and we have a lot of ways to communicate. Our first paper is due this week, turned-in on paper. We were just asked to reflect on the use of four-letter words in an e-mail digest. We have class blogs. We can respond to blog posts on the individual blogs, but are encouraged instead to comment on an aggregate blog. We can follow the blogs via RSS, or we can communicate with our group in a Facebook group. And let’s not leave out Twitter. There will be a Twitter account for our Ed.D. program too. That covers about all bases save for voice and video chats.

* Facebook
* Blackboard (announcements and discussions)
* email digests
* Twitter
* blogs
* synchronous voice and video communication
* Google+ (yes, that’s a social communications system, too, from the now defunct Wave to the new Google+)

What’s interesting is how all of these media will play out by the end of the program. I don’t currently use Facebook, although I’m guessing I’m in the minority. I understand blogging well and endorse this medium, but I also know it must be participatory and blogging forced on folks doesn’t work in the same way it does when folks are naturally interested in exchanging ideas via blogs. We have an aggregate blog that will divide conversations between two places, in effect replacing the “one stop shop” aspect of Blackboard’s discussions or Facebook. Email works because everyone does it, but I also wonder why our other professors aren’t also blogging, tweeting, or participate in the ultimate image social space, Facebook?

I learn the most socially via Twitter. I don’t have to have friends in this space, just folks I’m interested in following. Tweeting can be passive or active. I’ve split my tweets among three different accounts to reflect my interests and audiences.

Effective leaders ought to be challenged to leverage which of these tools are effective for their learning and communication needs. And perhaps that’s the point.

But until we all get there, listening to so many channels is both confusing and frustrating. In the end I think one medium will win, and it will be the one with the lowest burden of entry. And email today is the least powerful because the audience is always limited.

(Written at the airport on my iPad at the close of my summer vacation.)

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