In a world where social media is gaining more appeal as a source of communication, we find ourselves in unprecedented paradox thinking about how social media is actually changing our lives. Is it helping us to keep the important fundamentals of communication, or is it impending our communication skills and causing a barrier to effective communication? A recent study showed that real connection only occurs through authentic communication. In supporting this finding, the study demonstrated that only 7% of our communication happens through the verbal or written word, whereas 93% of our communication is through non-verbal body language (Tardanico 2). Whether or not technology-enabled social sites are sabotaging real communication depends on the user.
The real question should be what happens when we allow our communication to be confined to a Facebook post, a tweet, an email, or a text message? The answer is that people can easily hide their true character and create an illusion of their choice when communicating through social media sites (Tardanico 3). People are potentially choosing whoever they want to be on social media sites, and nobody would truly know what they are trying to say. It is easy to misinterpret or misunderstand the message being delivered as long as it is not face-to-face communication. People easily manipulate your message when trying to interpret a Facebook post or a tweet. When we cannot hear someone’s voice, or we cannot face them directly on their eyes to understand what they are saying, then we are potentially more disconnected.
On the contrary, although social media technology is depriving us of fundamental communication skills, replacing them with emoticons, snippets, and abbreviations, it is helping us to improve the way we communicate. For example, it is giving shy people the confidence to connect with others whom they wouldn’t talk to. From a writing point of view, social media technology sparks our creativity and the ability to collaborate with others (Chasombat 24). Thousands of users are increasingly relying on social media to keep track of events and developing news happing around the world. Today, social media is a powerful force providing different subcultures with unique communication opportunities. In many workplaces, for instance, social media has overtaken face-to-face communication and become an ideal form of communication. The discomfort in conventional forms of communication amongst the millennial and the modern employees has fuelled the shift to social media technology.
What is more, social media has changed the manner in which we do business. It is providing businesspeople with opportunities they never had before. It allows people to create more networks and meet new faces every day. Unlike in the past, most business deals are done through emails, text messages, and other technology-enabled platforms. Given that social media is here to stay, managers need to create workplaces where the workforce doubles its effort to get to the bottom line of real issues and messages (Chasombat 31). We are experiencing a growing niche of employees who prefer instant messaging as opposed to stopping by someone’s desk or office to discuss issues.
Overall, we must learn to be global citizens by finding ways of keeping effective communication while maintaining authentic relationships, even in the absence of a face, body language, and voice. If used well, social media can turn to be a beautiful thing, helping us to connect with everyone for a common cause.
Chasombat, Pritta. “Social networking sites impacts on interpersonal communication skills and relationships.” (2014). Print.
Tardanico, Susan. “Is social media sabotaging real communication?” Forbes. Retrieved on April 3 (2012): 2018 from: http://fall2016eng149mappinguncfoodways.web.unc.edu/files/2016/08/forbes-Is-Social-Media-Sabotaging-Real-Communication_.pdf