Technology, Globalization, and Why We Still Suck at Communication

By Shiraz M. Nelson

Technology is rapidly changing our planet, but how is it affecting our communication? It was only twenty years ago when a phone call or a letter connected business. Today, we can communicate instantly with any person, anywhere. A global digital marketplace is propelling our remote cultures into a global economy. Depending on who you ask, it is happening too fast or not fast enough. Despite the speed at which technology is changing our world, communication has the same old problems with some serious benefits.


Collaboration Happens

With a global economy brought on by a globalization of communication, we saw some very distinct problems in the early 2000’s. Information could travel quickly, meaning business could happen rapidly. But this means that new, global teams had to communicate just as fast as business did. Over the last ten years, we have witnessed technology creating problems of productivity within teams, but almost as soon, enterprising startups and tech moguls alike provided answers.

In the dark ages, it was a telephone, no we have email. In the dark ages, we had a meeting room with stale bagels, now we have numerous virtual meeting spaces and software. To collaborate on a project, we used to send files by courier or mail, now we simply work together in Google Docs – at the same time.

Technology has spawned a world without borders. It can carry information quickly and efficiently to whatever screen needs to see it (and some that don’t). We live in a connected world, where geopolitical borders mean less than they ever have before. But none of this technological innovation can make the user better.

Communication Complaintsmel

Communication has always been and, it seems, will always be the number one complaint from hiring managers about new hires. With all our technology and ingenuity, we still fail to learn basic grammar, speech, and communication basics. But why? The research seems split on the issue so I won’t bother you with the details. Well, besides that teachers seem convinced technology is encouraging students to write quickly and carelessly. But that’s just Pew Research, what do they know?

That’s the thing then. You give all the tech to a student you want, but what you have to give them is knowledge. Technology may make it easier to do that, but that’s it. Essentially, Google is just one big encyclopedia full of 90% lies and made up statistics. Searching through that mass of crap is the role of educators and students alike.

As technology continually shifts us from a face to face business world to an almost entirely written one, the professional writer’s time blossoms. But again, getting paid to write doesn’t mean you write well. Still, many professional writers take pride in their craft. They learn, they practice, they work. They write the stuff that technology just can’t do. We’ll never fully automate business because you can’t teach a computer how to write with passion, elegance, and wit. You’ll always need a professional writer. Next week: “How to Waste 15 Minutes of Your Work Day Without Noticing.”

Technology is a beautiful thing, but it has its drawbacks, the headaches, the frustration, the eye strain, the loss of sleep. And don’t forget tech support.

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