About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How mobile technology and facebook is changing how we communicate

I have noticed lately that the emails I get from my students are shorter and much more direct. I have also noticed that some of the comments on my kids' facebook seem almost cruel in their brevity, communicating something that can be misunderstood. After doing some quick analysis, I realized that those messages that stood out as being "different" were sent from mobile technology. After a little more investigation, I realized that the way in which facebook is being used is changing as more and more people have mobile devises that interact with the internet.

My nephew just got a droid. He is a teacher in his late 20's, not a teen. However, if I want to get a hold of him quickly, I have found facebook as the most effective tool. Facebook is becoming the format of choice for informal communication. As a result, companies using facebook who are formal or spamming (I'm sure it's called something else, I'm just not up to date with the jargon) may turn off potential customers (just as people don't answer the telephone at dinner time any more due to telemarketers).

As younger people get used to being informal on facebook delivered via mobile technology and as they develop their own protocols in communicating via mobile texting, they may not make the register change when sending a message via the internet (which will show up as an email)by mobile phone. This might be why recent emails I'm receiving from my students are very direct and to the point. Sometimes, it almost resembles an order; other times they provide me with very little information (including their name!).

The biggest concern is that this style of writing can be brutal (for lack of a better word), lacking in any empathy. Received by the wrong person, these messages can cause hard feelings. Surprisingly, my own children seem to be immune to this (they don't seem to be as insulted as I am about things written about them on facebook). When I pointed out to them that they would probably be upset if someone said that to them face-to-face, they did not see the similarities in the intention. However, as I remind them on a regular basis, not all people are immune to the change in language, register, and communication mode, so they are often having to modify what they would write. My son got a kick out of the Saturday Night Live skit last week on the facebook filter ap "Damn, my mom's on facebook."

No comments: