The Culture of Communication

Social media is fascinating. Is it replacing the way we communicate or giving us more avenues of communication?

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a twitter chat. I’d been intrigued with the idea of them since first hearing about them at a workshop about 18 months ago. It’s an interesting experience. The host was tweeting my prepared questions and I responded with a number of tweets – A1a, A1b, etc. Other participants can pose questions or comments to which you respond, or they can “favorite” or retweet one of your comments. Comments, favorites and retweets continue and it certainly provides good marketing exposure. One metric I was given toward the end was that we reached 278,000 twitter accounts. Oh, if each of them would buy The Big Book of HR! (Our twitter handle is @bigbookofhr.)

One scathing comment was received blasting us for conversing in this manner. Downside of the social world, the internet, the cloud, anonymity reigns. To this anonymous contributor, you might want to consider watching “Frozen” and take heed from the song, “Let it Go!” Had s/he been paying attention (listening in the virtual world), s/he would have seen my comment “Communication methods r changing rapidly w/technology & social media. Deliver messages in a method in which ur employees like to receive info.”

I must admit that while I was fascinated with the whole process and will eagerly participate in twitter chats in the future, I wouldn’t put them at the top of my list of communication or conversation methods. Nothing beats sitting and having good conversation. Barbara and I have had some great phone interviews since “The Big Book of HR” was published and are looking forward to more once our next book “The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook” hits the streets this fall.

Looking back to the early 20th century, a story about (and lesson from) my paternal grandmother, who emigrated with my grandfather from Italy and settled in Brooklyn, NY. I never knew her – she died before I was born – but I’ve heard stories about her including about how she was sought out by the other immigrants in her Italian neighborhood to read and respond to letters from relatives back home because my grandmother was one of the few women who knew how to read and write in that era. Apparently she had a cottage industry of transcribing the thoughts of other people because letter writing was their only form of communicating long-distance then. We’ve come a long way.

Here’s the irony. The topic of my twitter chat was Must Haves for Successfully Managing People. The next day it was published in blog format by my host, Melinda Emerson a/k/a #smallbizlady, on her web site The same topic appears on – our webpage – as a short video to provide a resource for small businesses. Finally, Barbara and I have presented this topic in a face-to-face meeting. Same message, four different methods to deliver it, and we probably got the most exposure from the twitter chat.

Technology has been a powerful influence in the way that we communicate and get information today. While everyone has their individual preference, it’s important to recognize the value of each method. If you have to get a message out, deliver messages in a method in which your audience likes to receive information. Don’t hesitate to diversify your method and try something new.

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.