Does our cornucopia of communications channels lead to restricted personal relationships?
We're all on email, most use Facebook, many have blogs, and some are merrily twittering away. So the temptation is to communicate through screen-and-keyboard. I'm worse than most at this, being something of a social media maven and a natural introvert.
I was impressed by two students who knocked at my door yesterday. I know them both and had noted how they prefer face-to-face contact and are both quick to pick up the phone if they can't speak to me in person. I'm searching for a pattern in this, but since one of these students is Greek and male, and the other is British and female, I don't have enough data to go on.
But I do know that personal is best and that everyone must have preferred channels for personal communications. Mine would go something like this:
- Hand-written card or letter
- Text message
- Blog comment (though not for private conversations)
- Facebook message
- Personal email
- Work email
I'm guilty of not doing enough personal communicating myself (I don't look forward to writing Christmas cards). But I do recognise its value. And I'm looking forward to meeting two 'friends' for the first time at next week's Don't Panic Guide to Social Media in Manchester. I've known of Tom Murphy since 2002 when we both started blogging about PR, but we've never met in the flesh. And I've been impressed enough with Simon Wakeman to entrust him with the technical aspects of Behind the Spin magazine, again without ever having shaken hands.
Andy Green, who I have met at several public forums over the years, has written a book on this: Effective Communication Skills for Public Relations.