Texting, Social Media Can Harm Communication

In business communication, the role of email, texting and the use of social media platforms are rapidly evolving in scope and degree of importance. Even traditional mail is changing in this technological landscape, with software like Sendzen allowing businesses to mail physical documents as if they were sending an email. Whilst this latter example shows that businesses can have the potential to evolve their communication professionally, the former 3 platforms can be a mixed bag.

The irony here is that senior business leaders, who on one hand will often have little or nothing to do with social media personally, are learning to rely on it to communicate with their employees, customers and other businesses. Increasingly, this techno communication is replacing the level of personal interaction that many communications consultants feel is essential for effective and productive values-based interactions that are so important to building strong cultures and relationships.

Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry and co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, explains that the personal communication we experience in one-on-one encounters – eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, pace of speech, posture and gestures – triggers interaction with the right hemisphere of the brain. Siegel, in a Business Insider video, explains that the brain’s upper right side works closely with the brain’s lower right side that, in turn, controls emotions and other responses.

The second irony here is that with the efficiency of emailing, texting and using other social media interactions to communicate, we lose the ability to process those very important human response/cultural dimensions.

The reason social media exploded into the cultural scene in the first place, Siegel says, is that people want to be connected and the brain is the social organ of the body. Email, texting and the use of social media platforms provide an efficient way for that to occur.

But even though it can be a highly effective business communication tool – for some individuals it can even be addictive – Siegel raises a cautionary note. It cannot and should not replace the face-to-face interactions. ” The ‘felt texture’ of life is just too important,” Siegel believes.

If businesses and individuals become too reliant on these new forms of communications, we could be headed for serious problems.