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Social Media Discussion Board

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are we communicating better or worse?

Twenty five years ago the internet was at the lowest rung of communications. Arguably, TV was at the top and newspapers were vital. Now every medium except internet is threatened with economic and strategic problems.

TheSmart Group is interested in developing the "art of the conversation," and it won't serve our best interest to become known as political commentators. But it does make sense to keep our eyes on the industry to understand what is happening so that we can help our clients and friends navigate the waters of effectively managing communications.

I was just watching a debate on the Newshour on PBS about whether the internet is enhancing or detracting from the process of effective communication between people. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia argued that the internet is helping people be better informed. Farhad Manjoo, a columnist from Slate Magazine argued that people are more fragmented and more lonely who spend time on the internet and less well informed.

Much of the debate focussed on the siloing affect that people tend to "silo" themselves by reading the viewpoints and blogs of their own political persuasion. It was pointed out that the network news shows which are the most popular with the highest ratings are one-sided such as Fox News or Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

It seemed to me the debate was easily won by Mr. Wales arguing in favor of the internet. The issue is of great interest to me though because if the internet is leading to the general break-down of communications or is actually the "last shoe to drop" while peole of the world talk less to each other, then my suggestion that social media marketing is a great solution for businesses would be a weak one.

What is your opinion? Are we getting better at talking? Is our internet world a real community which encourages conversation--or are we becoming more isolated by having fewer face-to-face conversations?
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