Technology is a slave to me

For many of us, technology allows faster means of communication and greater job efficiency.  With new developments being released every day it’s easy to get carried away with everything.  I came across a post from A Shel of My Former Self  blog, which describes how all forms of technology should be taken advantage of to the fullest extent in business, particularly public relations without feeling guilty about neglecting older forms of communication.  This post is a response by blogger Shel Holtz, ABC, principal Holtz Communication and Technology, who recently read another blog asking public relations practitioners to return to more personal means of communication like the telephone.  But with deals and other forms of business taking place online, is it necessary to lay off the e-mail?

Holtz argues that PR practitioners shouldn’t have to sacrifice internet-based communication tools, but should incorporate them with face-to-face meetings and phone calls.  It’s important to remember that the telephone is technology too.  And while some people are overly-dependent on technology in the workplace, the power of in-person communication should not be underestimated especially when it’s most appropriate.  The post cites an example of employees being fired over e-mail, which I believe takes technology too far.  It’s important to utilize channels of communication that are professional for the situation.

I believe we shouldn’t fear our dependency on technology as long as we don’t abuse it.  There is no reason to limit ourselves if we’re able to effectively reach the client, stakeholders and remain within the realm of professionalism.  E-mail isn’t unconventional anymore, in fact, it’s widely accepted for numerous tasks.  And having interned at a local public relations firm I know that the telephone is alive and well.  Voice tone can express sincerity and reassurance much more naturally than text.  For this reason, I believe phone calls will remain an important part of PR.  Each form of communication should be used to its strength.

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9 Responses to Technology is a slave to me

  1. asbrooks04 says:

    I think everyone would agree that getting fired over email not only takes technology too far, It’s just plain bad manners.
    I also agree that interpersonal communications have suffered with the growing technological communication tools. But since that is not likely to change, I just hope that those who have recognized this will learn to use future technology to recreate personal communication, such as telephone video monitors for conferences etc. I think that, in the end, communicators will find ways to recreate the nuances of face to face interaction using technology and even expand the possibilities, across borders and oceans for example. What else can they do?

  2. dfishfel says:

    Firing someone over an e-mail just shows that that person is, for lack of a better term, a “scaredy cat.” If your boss can’t even fire you face-to-face you probably shouldn’t even be working for that company because that means that there are other more important people he/she can’t even face. However, I do feel that e-mails are appropriate in most circumstances for communication because of their speed and simplicity. I still think it is imperative to at least have conversations with people over the phone, just so you can hear their emotions. E-mails and text messages leave that very important bit out, and in business and PR emotion is very important. I think that conference or even having a meeting over iChat (or something similar to that) should be used more often, because now people are doing business with people all over the world so there needs to be some way for us to communicate while still being able to hear the other persons voice.

  3. davemerenda says:

    Technology, whether you love or hate it, is part of our lives. Personally, I am not a huge fan of e-mails, IM’s and social networking sites; however, they play a key role in our daily lives. What concerns me though, is the attitude toward technology.
    It seems to me that people are just getting lazy. Why should one exert the effort to pick up a phone and dial a number when they can just IM? Should we just continue to use e-mail while it’s still accepted as an appropriate form of communication, or is there something new out there I haven’t heard about yet? It’s a shame we aren’t all telepathic. Everything would be so much easier.
    It’s common sense, to those who have it, to use the appropriate tool. If you ask me, technology hinders as much as it benefits productivity. Just look at how much time was wasted discussing this ridiculous issue. What did I learn from this? Nothing.

  4. mara2009 says:

    I agree with Shel Holtz’s middle-of-the-road approach when it comes to technology. Most relationships are built on getting to know one another. Face-to-face and phone communication allow people to know more about the other person in a way that Internet technology and text messaging do not. A successful PR professional will know how to use a variety of tools to form connections. After all, PR is based on relationships.

  5. wackyzachy47 says:

    It is just interesting to me to see that technology has in fact taken over our lives. This is very evident whenever I have computer issues. I feel so disconnected, almost naked in the fact that I cannot just jump on and check my email, facebook etc. Even when I go away for the weekend, I come home to a full inbox and feel very overwhelmed. It is insane for me to think that 15 years ago, this did not exist. I cannot even fathom this.

    To speak on the idea of relationship forming, which I agree that is the basis of PR, I think that technology can only help, but as I said in another comment, it is so easy to get lost and overwhelmed in all that is out there. And while I agree that one needs to stay up to date on all that is out there, I think one should focus in on one or two specific aspects of this social media/internet revolution and learn to use them efficiently and proficiently so as to not get too caught up in all that is out there.

    And just to echo what has already been said, the idea that people are starting to conduct vital acts of communication best left to face to face or at least via phone, such as the act of firing or hiring someone via email is a little disturbing. I feel that some things are best left to the good old face to face interview/meeting–if for no other reason than common courtesy.

  6. mekelly1 says:

    If you would have told an employee 10 years ago that one day the possibility of being let go through an email could happen, they would have thought you were crazy. But now with the extreme use of technology in our daily communication this rude gesture is very real. Email communication is very impersonal, but I know many professionals that prefer it. It is quick and easy and they can do it from anywhere now that email is on many phones.
    I still believe that face to face or even phone conversations are still crucial. Especially when dealing with a controversial issue. It expresses tones and emotions that are just not available through email.
    I’m glad that we have the technology now to be able to do interactive chats. That definitely helps keep things a little more personal than email alone. It is also a necessity when dealing with international business. Programs like Skype make it cheaper than placing an international call.
    Technology has definitely recreated the way we communicate, and I believe it is only going to become more advanced. The professionals who learn to adapt and continue to stay on top of new technology will definitely be the ones to advance.

  7. cclark2 says:

    It is all about the middle-of -the-road approach. You should know which situations call for what types of communication. Should you fire someone over email? Probably not. Should you contact someone for the first time over email? Probably not. You have to know which conversations allow for impersonal communication and which ones require a more personal approach. If you are trying to secure a big client, you probably want to take the personal approach and let them have a chance to get to know you and your company better.
    I think most of this is just using our common sense. I don’t think it takes years of experience to know that you shouldn’t fire someone over email. It’s just cold-hearted.

  8. agilliam says:

    It seems clear to me that this issue is not very clear at all. There is still obviously debate over what is appropriate, just based on the comments above. I think that while technology is a staple of business in our generation, we are sacrificing our interpersonal skills for it. While growing up today, kids are focusing on typing instead of talking. I think that this is breaking down their skills as communicators.

  9. trentonhorne says:

    I think ASU itself is a good example of how internet-based communications have become more dominant than face-to-face communications. Our university is pretty much moving everything online. From my personal experiences, I have noticed how I am always directed to the ASU website if I call a department for a question.
    I am finding this to be the same in my class’ PR campaign as well. I think e-mail correspondence is very useful, but I also feel like it makes it harder to get certain questions and answers that can’t be expressed in a few words. I agree with you that the sincerity of face-to-face interactions really do provide a lot more clarity.

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