Have you heard the myth that the world is getting smaller? What is meant by this is that we’re more connected to the world as ever before, and not to just our tribe or village. It is true that we are more connected physically to the world, but not emotionally to it.
Have you ever seen a family enjoying dinner at a restaurant in silence as each person focuses on their phones instead of on each other? The world just got bigger, a lot bigger for that family.
Ironically, we can be more connected to family thousands of miles away through Skype, but become isolated from our parents, siblings, spouses and children that we see everyday.
Here are four ways we lose connection with people through technology:
Reason #1: Low Expectation of Courtesy
Few people would have the nerve to fake an illness to escape work if they had to confront their boss in person. People would rather lie over the phone. If allowed, everyone would much prefer to call in sick via text. The same is true for courtesy. The more removed we are from personal contact, the ruder we are likely to be. For example, we will honk at a person who cuts us off in a car, but not scream in their face if they pass us on the sidewalk.
When anonymity is allowed, is there any surprise that hostility and vicious character assassinations become so prevalent? This should be a clue: Civility increases in the inverse proportion to the degree of anonymity.
Why not treat all communication as personal communication? As the country song says, always be humble and kind.
Reason #2: No Body Language
According to research, Dr. Albert Mehrabian says 55% of communication is nonverbal. Others say as high as 90%. Because feelings are often unconscious, unknown even to ourselves, we cannot hide them. They express themselves in body language and are likely to be without deception. On the other hand, words are consciously formed and are often devious. Words are often how we mask our true feelings. Have you ever asked your spouse, is there anything wrong? No is the despondent response. Are you sure? With tight jaw and eyes cast downward, yes, I’m fine. I’m just tired.
When we communicate electronically, obviously we’re at a huge disadvantage in terms of knowing how people feel. It’s harder to overcome objections if you can’t read body language. There is some good news. Number 4 below explains it.
Reason #3: No Heart
When a movie or a book makes you laugh or cry, you say that it “moved” you.
In other words, you connected with and are influenced by the character or situation. It begs the question, how can we make our blogs and web content have greater impact on our customers? Two things come to mind.
Write about things that you know intimately and impact you. Secondly, always include a call-to-action. If you think about it, doesn’t a good story or movie prompt you to think or act differently? Your blog should do the same thing.
Even if people don’t respond to your call-to-action, they feel more connected to the content. It’s a lot better to be invited to a party and not go, then not to be invited at all.
Reason #4: Truthful, But Less Transparent
According to a new study on the science of lying, psychologist Jeff Hancock, in his TED talk, explains why emails are a relatively honest form of communication. Surprisingly, just knowing that it is permanently retrievable somewhere on the server, we are more likely to tell the truth.
Of course, if we’re going to tell the truth, we tend to talk less about our shortcomings, fears and real concerns. So, we end up being more truthful but less transparent. For example, watch how people freeze up when we ask them about their darkest secrets and most shameful acts. These topics are more suited to involve a priest, parent or therapist than a blogger or chatroom.
Bottom line: try not to let being truthful keep you from being transparent. Your customers appreciate when you’re authentic.
Why is this all important?
Technology does not have to disconnect us. If we put technology in its proper place as a tool for us to connect with and serve our family, friends and customers it can make the world smaller. That’s what our team at Personable Media does with every website we build. Schedule an appointment today and let’s discuss your next website project!