Monday, August 20, 2012

Communication Paradox

Here's something to think about.

We have been going at turning everyone on social network into publishers.  Anyone with fingers to type up their whereabouts or what they are about to eat can share their status with everyone else who care to subscribe to their updates.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Google+, Branch, Tumblr, Quora, etc., we have more social networks than we care to remember.

What is ironic is that as we become more connected and instantly reachable, I am finding that it is increasingly difficult to communicate with people.  I have more ways to reach my friend than I can count with my ten fingers.  Yet it is becoming challenging to have a dialogue with him.

Of course, if you are not interested in communicating,
you have a whole new problem...

I call this Communication Paradox.  As the number of communication channels increase and volume of data exchanged explodes, we are less connected as a result.  In other words, we think we are communicating more, but in the end we are creating barriers to communicate for ourselves.  Noise-to-signal ratio shoots up. Everyone is expected to drink out of fire hydrant, and keep with all the updates filling up their news feed.

I see other people also talking about the Communication Paradox.  The Slow Web movement is one and this LinkedIn discussion is another.

I think there are three ways to address this:

1. Remove subscriptions so as to reduce the volume of data

2. Filter to discover important data out of flooded news feed

3. Do nothing

I think most people who are well into social media adoption curve will need both solutions, #1 and #2.

Another aspect of Communication Paradox is our fragmented social networks, i.e. no federation.  But I'll save that topic for another day.

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