It’s easy to forget that in this digital age of social media, we all still have vocal chords that allow us to talk in person or over the phone. 

I realise a certain irony in me sharing my views here, digitally, rather than vocally.  As I will explain in a moment, Hillary Clinton and I have a common problem.

Day to day, we’re all bombarded with tweets, Facebook posts, articles on LinkedIn, blogs, emails and when that’s all gone through, there’s probably texting and physical post that will target anybody who’s been missed.

Just this last week, we saw Hillary Clinton launch her 2016 Presidential campaign via social media, immediately targeting 3.2 million followers around the world. 

Undoubtedly, the team behind her is ready to cover all outlets, including those offline, with whatever media possible. But who can blame her for wanting to use online as a primary method of communication?

As much as I’m sure she’d love to personally call 3.2 million people to say she’s running for President, the practicalities of that are slightly more challenging. 

I’d love to read this blog post to everybody who views it on TheDSpot, but visitor numbers suggest that I would be here for a while.

Hillary (and others around the world for that matter) aren’t alone in embracing communication via digital. After all, it’s quick and easy to get a global message out.

Broadcasters and publications are frequently using tweets as online statements. Regurgitating the relevant quote in their own 140-character ensemble, as quickly as possible. 

We’ve even reached a point where the Associated Press are automatically creating some articles with recurring information from financial markets. No longer is a human actually injecting any personality into an article.

And that leads nicely to my point. What’s missing in online communication is the personality. 

When using digital media, it’s always a challenge to strike the correct tone of voice and it’s arguably something that no company or person, not even Hillary, has mastered.

Whatever you write, it can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways depending on how people emphasise a word, pause at a certain point or understand a phrase. There’s also no opportunity for people reading to immediately communicate with the author, share a point of view or challenge something that’s being said.

What this means is people take digital communication at face value. People either instantly agree with it, or they don’t. Good for hard facts and details, less so for opinions or statements open for interpretation.

People agreeing with a post may lead to further discussions, a sale, or something positive for the brand or individual. Disagreeing can often lead to something more hurtful being thrown back at a social media feed. 

Because social media is faceless, a void of unknown personalities and screened behind – ironically – a screen, people can be a lot more blunt, critical and perhaps less constructive than the conventional means of face-to-face communication.

My thought is that there will always be a place for social media. There’s always going to be a place for digital communication.  There won’t however, be a replacement for word of mouth vocally.

People will always talk and we will always have speeches, presentations and general discussions – over the phone or in person. It allows us to feedback instantly in a natural way and to deliver something how we would like to.

Human nature in itself is to talk, not type.

Posted by

Jo Errington-Stevens


16th April 2015
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