Gotta Love Gadgets

Yay! Tech stuff! Laptops and smartphones and tablets … oooh, shiny!

They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

And more magical gadgets are on the way. Gotta love ’em, right? Right!

Okay. Enough with the exclamation marks. The point is that there are always several perspectives on any given topic. And that may be especially true when the topic is communication. For every rant, there’s a rave. For every “Coping with the Code,” there’s a “Gotta Love It!”

Point and counterpoint.

So, despite its capacity for confusion, what does the latest in communication technology enable? Connection. Interaction. Relationship. Community. Connections to real people who use real names to:

  • Interact with more effective and better quality communication
  • Establish and manage real reputations
  • Develop valuable relationships
  • Reduce the potential for flame wars and trollish behavior online
  • Create communities of like-minded souls

All good.

As the gadgetry allows us to stay connected 24/7, we live out loud, online, and in public. Whether posting to a Facebook wall, communing with a Google+ circle, updating your Twitter feed, commenting on a blog, sharing videos on Vimeo and YouTube, or just exchanging e-mail, we want to dispense with anonymity and become the “trusted source” — someone who’s raised a metaphorical hand, established a consistent identity, and made a useful contribution to the discussion.

Although the concept of “friend” has nearly been Facebooked to death, we still have real friends who are real people. We trust what they say (or we don’t) because we know who’s talking to us and we know whether or not they are honest and authentic. That solid frame of reference works in person or online. In each case, our reputation-building efforts are tied up in how and how well we communicate — do we mean what we say; do we live what we say we believe — and how consistently we communicate that message.

Yes, we can get frustrated with the hardware and the software. Yes, we can get carried away by the latest shiny toy or social network. And sometimes, we have to experience both, swinging to opposite ends of the pendulum — totally immersed and engaged; totally overwhelmed and out of it — before we can reach that sweet spot in the middle where we figure out which tools fit us best. But the tools are only here to serve. Regardless of the gadgetry, the message comes first.

©2011 Jill J. Jensen/Clarity from Chaos