Another Communication Tool for Us!
I have become a fan of yet another communication tool -- Skype. Once again I am reminded of Marshall McLuhan's prophetic words, "the medium is the message". Communication is still communication, but the difference is in the way we communicate – whether it is through a hand written note, a phone call, e-mail, IM, facebook messages, or now via Skype. The medium itself alters the message.
The written communication of the 1700’s and 1800’s is colorful and descriptive. Writers had to paint a full picture with only the written word. They had to carefully choose their phrasing to convey their actual thoughts and intent—to paint a picture with their words. As it took a long time for a letter to reach its recipient, they were often long and full of detailed narratives. Compare that to our short e-mails and even shorter texts and IMs. These are written communications that are virtually instantaneous. As I’m sure you’ll agree since they are written quickly, and typically in a form of shorthand, there are often errors and the meaning isn’t always clear. Not to mention the reader is often distracted – you can email or text while watching TV, working on the computer, even talking on the phone.
Telephone communication requires a bit more attention. The telephone conveys not just words, but also the tone of voice of the speaker. It is easier for the speaker to express themselves, and easier for the listener to understand the non-verbal subtleties of the message. But I’m sure there were times when as a listener on the other end of a phone you weren’t giving the speaker your full attention.
With Skype we have words with all their verbal and non-verbal cues. Sight and sound. The only thing missing is the ability to actually reach out and touch the other person!
However, similar to when I joined facebook and then twitter, the tool is useless until my friends and family join on too. So come on people, if you Skype, look me up!