The Changing Facets of External Communication
Rate of Adoption of Technology
Jun. 21, 2013 02:00 PM
External communication methodology has evolved vastly in the last century, especially during the last two decades. We have witnessed the evolution in communication methodology with every new step the internet revolution has taken forward. So, we have moved from sending letters to phone calls to mobile communication via SMSes and cellular calls, emails and have finally arrived at the current scenario where communication occurs at various levels through emails, instant messaging, communicating via social networks, voice and video chats etc.
Rate of Adoption of Technology
The rate at which consumers have adapted to the new technology and adopted them hasn’t slackened; in fact, the pace has increased manifold. Switching from computers to laptops to Smartphones was a comparatively quick transition. To a great extent, this may be attributed to the level of awareness and the reducing costs and better affordability among people. The advancement in technology means that more people became aware of the new communication methodologies and adopting these new forms was also relatively faster. So, while it took the radio 38 years to hit a 50 Million customers benchmark, the iPod took a mere four years and Facebook fared better with just one year.
Communication Scale and Demography
The scale of communication has expanded as well. While previously all the communication happened on a one-to-one basis, now many-to-many communication has become a reality, especially via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype etc. While previously, these communication avenues were adopted and dominated by the younger generation, now even the older generation is quickly warming up to them.
These websites have gone beyond being an entertainment channel and the working class, especially, utilizes these sites to conduct business communications and studies. So much so, that it is expected that soon emails might also become history. However, that might not happen for many more years to come as the email is still the best way to document business communications and emailing itself is adopting newer avenues in communication methodology and usage. For instance, many contracts are signed virtually via email. In fact, in some companies, new recruits are sending in their acceptance by way of an email confirmation.
Transition from Email to Social Networking
Though the email cannot be made obsolete, its usage is being restricted. Short messages are now relayed via instant messaging services; and instead of emailing their resumes, many candidates are passing on their Linkedin profiles, Online shopping portals are advertizing their offers and promotions on social networking sites, rather than emailing them. While the social networking technology was viewed dubiously by large enterprises previously as they assumed it would affect productivity, they are slowly adopting technologies such as Jive Software, Yammer (now owned by Microsoft) and Salesforce.com with Chatter. All of these have, in fact, improved productivity as relaying the messages happens faster. Even mundane activities such as data sharing, file transfer, and quick meetings are done faster and more efficiently via these services.
Within the company, the employee interactions are the highest among the sales, marketing, and tech support teams. Other teams within the company and the companies themselves also have their complex communication requirements. Communication is the foundation for business interactions. To convey the company’s financial health, the finance team prepares a balance sheet. We cannot undermine the importance of improved communication technology for any particular team, department, or industry.
For a generation that spends more time on their mobile devices for communication than with each other, the best way to communicate with one's customers and reach out to them is via the various electronic communication forums. Rather than asking their friends and neighbors for opinions, people prefer checking out blogs and opinion polls and compare different options online. There is more trust placed on the opinions of “experts” and “strangers with first-hand experience” on the internet. There is definitely no dearth of information regarding any given topic in the virtual world, and there are many people and companies waiting to share their views with those who are seeking them.
Technological communication is evolving and has not yet peaked. In fact, it can never get redundant or stop evolving if one were to follow the trends. Organizations making the best use of the various communication technologies are reaping the benefits in the form of improved efficiency internally, higher productivity, better internal and external communication, as well as more interaction with customers.
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