Whether you have a video chat with a family member or attend online conferences for your work, you find that technology has improved how people communicate in several ways. Not only can you share information quickly and reduce the impact of language differences and distance, but you can save time and money using technology to communicate and reach as wide an audience as you need. At the same time, it helps to understand some potential pitfalls that technology and communication have brought so that you can communicate most effectively.
Easier Sharing of Information
The most significant way that technology has helped communication involves how people can now communicate live no matter where they go. Not only can you call someone on the phone for a regular voice chat, but you can take advantage of live video chat apps and conferencing software that can handle meetings with your personal contacts, business colleagues or peers from school. With these tools, you can also share documents and other media items during your conversation.
Faster and Reliable Communication
Thanks to technology, you no longer have to rely on sending physical letters and then waiting several days and perhaps having your message lost in the mail. Instead, you have tools for audio and video calls for immediate communication. When real-time communication isn't necessary or possible, you still have text messaging and email where you can leave messages any time of day and get a response quickly and reliably. Even better, those electronic messages usually don't get lost, and you can quickly resend them if they do.
Communication to a Wider Audience
When you take advantage of technology, you can communicate with as wide an audience as you need to without traveling to meet them physically. Rather than giving a presentation to only the colleagues in your office, you can set up a virtual conference where staff around the world can watch and interact in real time. You can also communicate your message to a large audience by posting to social media and blogging websites or set up a website for yourself, your hobby or your business.
Higher Productivity and Lower Costs
Technology and communication bring about benefits when it comes to saving time and money while sharing information or getting together. Rather than paying for a plane ticket and other travel costs to visit a faraway contact to talk, you can use voice, text or video communication for little to no cost and no travel time needed. Businesses have more productive teams when they use technology to communicate around the office without needing to go around from room to room or desk to desk.
Reduced Language Barriers
Another area where technology and communication have led to improvement includes tools that reduce language barriers through translation. The popular communication app Skype can now translate text and voice conversations in real-time in many languages. This provides the opportunity to interact with friends, family and business contacts even if you don't both speak English and opens up the potential for language learning. Technology has led to gadgets like ili that let you almost instantly translate sentences offline when you have face-to-face communication anywhere you go.
Potential Technology and Communication Downsides
While technology and communication together bring benefits, they can also bring about problems such as:
- More distractions: With the rise of people communicating through their phones and computers, it's become easier to be distracted rather than focusing on the communication happening. This might mean browsing the web or using apps while having a video or phone conversation or being distracted by devices when you have in-person communication.
- Potential for misunderstanding: Text communication through email, text messaging and chat apps can lead to arguments and confusion when one person misinterprets another's words. This can happen due to typos, language barriers and assumptions about the other person's intent. For example, your friend might take a comment meant as a joke or sarcasm the wrong way unless you use some visual like an emoji or state your intended meaning. Translation tools can also cause the meaning to become confusing due to mistakes with the tool or use of informal language that the tool can't translate correctly.
- Less personal interaction: While technology has made communication easier, some people still prefer face-to-face communication because it brings about stronger connections and allows for interpretation of body language. Video chats can help make communication with technology more personal and less isolating, but it still doesn't perfectly match the face-to-face experience.
- Avocor: 7 Advantages of Technology in Business Communication
- Microsoft: Skype Translator
- CrewApp: How Technology Has Affected Communication
- Rosi Office Systems Inc: How Technology Changed Communication – Pros and Cons
- ValueProp: 5 Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication
- ili: Instant Offline Translation Device for Travelers