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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Communication and Technology

Unless you're face-to-face with someone, all communication uses technology (and one could even argue that language is a type of technology so that would include every form of communication). There is no way to separate the use of technology from the act of communication, but different types of technology demand different strategies for communication to be effective.

Visual Communication

At least one third of people are primarily visual learners (the others are auditory or kinesthetic). So if you skip visual communication, you're leaving out at least 33 percent of your audience. PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi and other slide-based tools give you the opportunity to communicate visually, but they take some time and effort to master. If you use visual communication effectively, it can increase the retention of your message by 6 times, but if you use it poorly, it can actually decrease the retention of your message. 

Online Communication

Communicating online is not the same as other text-based communication. You can't simply substitute an email for a written letter or a blog post for a magazine article. Online communication is faster, more interactive and more democratic than ever before. It takes new skills and thought processes to communicate effectively online. 


Recently Facebook passed 1 billion users and it continues to grow. More and more people are getting their news primarily through social media and important relationship information is often shared first online and then later in public. Facebook is a new world where people go to share, play, gripe and discuss. If it's used well, you can foster conversations between people who would never speak to each other in another forum. If it's used poorly it can reinforce negative stereotypes and further polarize people. 

Facebook is a mission field like none other. 


Keeping a blog or a website is a helpful way to promote ideas and connect with people all around the world, but blogs take discipline, effort and interaction. It's easy to create a blog and sit back waiting for people to jump in, but with the billions of pages on the internet today, it's not likely that people will stumble across you if you don't do the work to seek them out. 

Blogs give you a chance to develop your ideas in longer format than Facebook or Twitter, but they also require more effort to develop a culture of followers who check in and see what you're doing. 


There are times when it's appropriate to promote what you're doing online. If you're running a funding campaign or you're launching a new project and you want to generate excitement, you can promote it online. But there are rules to follow so that your promotion doesn't get lost in the crowd and it doesn't have the opposite effect you're looking for. There's a balance to be struck between getting the word out so people notice and being so annoying the people tune out and ignore you. 

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