Just Message Me

By: Richard Berger

My partner at HighPoint, Sumeet Goel, addressed the issue of poor written communication in a recent blog post. It got me thinking about our reliance on technology, particularly the effects of messaging and email.

Clearly, messaging and email make our lives easier. We can get more done in a shorter amount of time. We can avoid wasting time chatting about nothing and get to the meat of an issue. We can pose a perfectly crafted question to our client in an email, rather than risk stumbling over that issue in live conversation.

Not surprisingly, messaging is the fastest growing online behavior, quickly surpassing social networks as the dominant media activity, in an environment where Americans are spending more time on tech and media than work and sleep.

There have been lots of interesting pieces written about the trade-offs in our technology and messaging driven world.

  • A recent NY Times article discussed how ready, constant access to technology is affecting the degree to which people feel connected and impairing our capacity for empathy.
  • CNBC reported that people talking without a phone present have conversations that result in greater empathy than those with a phone – even if it’s just sitting on the table.
  • In an article with the wonderful title “Face Time vs. Screen Time”  the Deseret News talks with experts about how technology not only lowers the quality of communications but also can rewrite children’s brain pathways in a different way than normal.
  • The Wall Street Journal weighed in with a similarly titled piece, “Face Time Tops Screen Time,”  reporting on UCLA research which suggests that too much screen time can negatively impact a child’s ability to read emotions face-to-face.

How do we find balance between the need for direct human contact and the conveniences and availability of technology? Do we need to challenge ourselves to turn it all off occasionally (I’m not sure how well that would work, as many of us panic the minute we misplace our phone or have a dead battery)?

I don’t have the answers, but if you do, send me a message.