Is technology changing our behaviour?

How we communicate with the outside world is constantly changing and we have come a long way in a short space of time.

If you or I wanted to ‘talk’ with one another in years gone by, we would have written a letter, which would have taken time to reach the recipient. The simple act of writing a letter takes careful thought and consideration. Usually the recipient is someone we know, or have been invited to write to.

Along comes telecommunications. Telegraphs and telephones make communicating over great distances instant. Speaking with someone even thousands of miles away is now as simple as picking up a phone and pressing a few buttons. The world of personal communication suddenly shrank to a more manageable size.

With the age of the internet and e-mailing, writing letters became less common and to an extent ‘texting’ replaced ‘talking’ on a phone. The way we write messages is different in form and style, just look at all the text message abbreviations that have entered the language. OMG. Still though, the basic concept of communicating with someone you know, or have been invited to communicate with, was still there.

That has all now changed with the advent of social networks (such as Twitter and Google+) and blogging. The ability to write a message (of whatever length) that is then available to the world at large to read, digest and respond to, is a considerable shift.

You may have heard of celebrities. Well, now there are celebrities of the on-line world. The power to reach millions of listeners is in everyone’s grasp. All you need to do is to find your voice.

Whether these on-line celebrities are famous or influential in their off-line lives, is irrelevant. The power of social media means that no one is unapproachable and everyone is reachable. When you first come to realise this fact, it can shock you into inactivity.

“Do I reply to that tweet by Steven Fry? Should I respond to that blog by Richard Branson? What will they think? What will the world think?!”

Don’t be afraid. Just remember that skill we all learned years ago. The one where we had to think carefully and considerately when writing a letter. Then write!

Published by Alan Stainer

After more than a decade as a Lotus Domino admin, Alan set up Alan's IT Solutions. A local business servicing the IT needs of SMEs and domestic clients in the south of England. The creative freedom of running a business led to the creation of Local Hive. A web based project aimed at raising the visibility of small businesses in their local communities, by creating a virtual high street. Alan also writes a column for the West Sussex County Times, giving people practical advice on computing.

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