Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't Call Me, I Won't Call you

Less people use the telephone and two recent articles in the New York Times highlighted the phenomena- the revolution of social media. Yesterday in class we discussed Haas's book, but we never talked about whether the relationships one has with the "North," "South," "East," and "West" have changed over time. Writer for the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell has argued that social media will never have the same effect as previous revolutions due to its lack of strong interpersonal associations. He praises face to face interactions for importance and power. Many companies will pay for their employees to fly half way around the world to meet with clients. Some days at work I will not see my boss and we will only communicate through email. Do people think that this makes it harder to make connections with those you work with, for, near....? Or is an ok or better substitute?
Below is a similar article that focuses on digital communication and the role of the internet on relationships between children and parents.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/fashion/20Facebook.html?ref=fashion

14 comments:

Anna Mikhailovich said...

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell

Megan said...

I think sometimes it makes things a little less personal, but it's nice when I have questions, and I don't want to disturb people.

Anna Mikhailovich said...

I have not looked, but I wonder if there is a cost-benefit study on whether the money company's spend on ensuring face to face interaction (Bloomberg office set up, traveling to meet clients etc)increases success or not

TJE said...

Similar questions arise about education. There has been a dramatic increase in on-line courses in higher ed, in which students never meet the instructor. The wave of the future? Will there always be a place for the Hamilton Colleges of the world?

Patrick_Landers said...

I'm not sure if anyone's ever done it in a cost-benefit analysis way specifically, but I know their are tons of studies that calculate the benefits or costs of various business and group structures- whether face-to-face interaction, group bonding, the ratios between workers of the two sexes (might men do better in an all or nearly-all male firm?), etc. It would be interesting to try to synthesize this literature and find ideal mixes of all these factors about workers and firm structure depending on whatever product or service you're providing.

Patrick_Landers said...

For instance, post-secondary education.

PBM said...

I'm not sure how I feel about social media in business or education, but when used for no reason (IMing, facebooking, texting, etc.) by kids, I think it's detrimental to society. When kids learn to only communicate through typing and not through face to face interaction it makes them have less empathy. It also makes it much harder for them to do things that should be easy like asking someone on a date, or confronting somebody about a problem. I don't know if there are any studies on this, but I definitely don't think it's a good thing for kids to be having cell phones or facebooks before they go to high school.

TJE said...

http://www.dumbestgeneration.com/home.html

PBM said...

I don't know if it will necessarily make people dumber (it easily could), I'm just arguing that it makes them more socially inept than any other generation.

Anna Mikhailovich said...

I am so thankful that facebook did not exist when I was in elementary or middle school. When you become older, (sometimes) it is less hurtful when you see pictures posted from a party that you weren't invited to. As a young kid, it is the worst when you hear about it, even worse when you have to see pictures and comments about it. Facebook is just TMI sometimes and I think it has probably made schools more clichy ... we need to hire someone to look up all of these studies we are interested in finding!

Ryan Karerat said...

LMFAO i dnt no what u guyz r talking abOUT i think fbook is gr8 and iz making i smartr.

Anna Mikhailovich said...

My comment is more about the twittering and facebook - "everyone needs to know everything about me all the time" ...

In regards to the communication, I agree with Peter. Also, texting and email can never be replaced with talking to someone. It is impossible to know someone's tone or attitude behind electronic communication.

TJE said...

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/colleges-see-17-percent-increase-in-online-enrollment/20820

Peter M. said...

I think that a lack of inter-personal interaction is definitely detrimental to a workplace environment. But, on some level, it is unavoidable. Technology and a subsquent ease in communication rapidly improves on a daily basis. There are clear advantages: quick turnaround time, easy back-and-forth question and answers, global communication in seconds, etc...

Yet, this old-fashioned sense of personal interaction is slowly being lost.