Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Observation of Communication Methods and Nature

Observation of Communication Methods and Nature
     In this self examination and analysis of communication over a wide variety of formats I was forced to compare my own lackluster communication skills with the skills of others. As I myself am both shy and have an introverted personality my communication with others is vastly different from how most people interact. Knowing myself I was able to start analyzing the differences between myself and others from memory and began to form assumptions, some of which where incorrect. I have learned several things while performing this examination and analysis about the ways in which we communicate.
     The most common form of communication between people is the same as it has been since the invention of spoken language perhaps hundreds of thousands of years ago, it is face to face communication. Face to face communication also has the supporting aspect of body language to make it the most precise and accurate form of communication. Being an introvert I fully recognize face to face communication's advantages in conveying messages in the most direct manner to maximize efficiency. What I observed however was that often times people will not state the purpose of their speech for example when asking for something people may try to “walk around” the actual question. This usually occurs when the other person seems reluctant to ask the question maybe because they are afraid that that person will not help in which case they wasted time that could have been utilized looking for another person to help. Sometimes people also do something similar in making statements, they will add a lot of extra information that is not needed to get there point across. This most often happens when people do not really want to make a point, but rather just to converse to get attention. These practices serve to slow down the transfer of ideas and information through face to face conversation, However, the supporting aspects to face to face communication make it the most precise form of communication. Facial expressions and body language serve to show emotions, interest, and as an aid to explaining ideas, much more easily than in other forms of communication where they require extra effort or are not possible at all.
     Despite the advantages of face to face communication it requires the most energy of any form of communication. The form of communication that requires the least amount of energy is what we display and how we display ourselves with what we wear. When people wear certain clothing they are usually trying to represent themselves to others in a certain way to get people to think of them in the way that they want others to. I noticed some correlations in how people dressed with respect to color and type of clothing, and how they act and what they do. I noticed that most of the time people who seemed more overtly happy and talkative wore more bright colors and excessively revealing clothing; while those who wore more conservative clothing and darker colors where more reserved and often doing work. Those wearing the revealing and colorful clothing were likely trying to get the attention of others and trying to get others to form opinions that they are attractive or fun based solely on what they wore. The people who wore dark colors on the other hand were often doing work and would not like to draw attention and have their work interrupted as a result. In this observation I learned that we may subconsciously make these connections to what others are wearing that tell us their moods or if they are approachable for conversation. This requires little effort or energy as it is just the wearing of specific clothing that allows this passive communication but while it is almost completely effortless the depth of the information conveyed is extremely limited.
     Modern day electronic communication has grown so quickly that we are living in what has been designated the Information Era. Electronic communication such as email, texting, and talking on cellphones has some major advantages over both face to face and passive wear communication with the only real weakness being the ease of which emotions can be conveyed with the other forms of communication. What has caused electronic communication's rapid proliferation into our everyday lives are its advantages of extremely high accessibility and speed. Almost everywhere I went I could observe people texting, talking, or using email all on their cellphones. This accessibility mixed with the almost instantaneous messaging creates the easiest and fastest form of communication today, and while the only technical fault is that it is harder to show emotions, there are some other problems with this form of communication. The use of cellphones can be used to set up meetings, but I noticed that when people where talking to each other many times at least one would be on their cellphone. When on their cellphone they could still be talking with the person next to them in face to face communication but they would stop using body language and facial expressions negating the advantage of face to face communication.
     Electronic communication not only distracts us from each other but it also distracts us from the world around us. During the hour in which I did not use any technology I noticed few changes in the way I perceive the world around me. I have only had a cellphone for about two months and have not become to absorbed in it. The new things I observed about the world around me where more of a result of actively trying to look at and listen to the world as apposed to the absence of technology. As I usually do not walk around with my phone in hand there where few new things to notice but there was one each involving sight and sound. I first noticed the shadows of some railings and how they cut a grid into the ground and so I decided to watch the shadows. As I walked I came across the shadows of some trees blowing in the wind and how the leaves would occasionally let light through but those spots would quickly close and others would appear. This reminded me of a theory in physics where subatomic quantum particles come into existence for just a miniscule amount of time and then just as quickly cease to exist. The other thing I noticed was based on sound which I usually almost completely block out with my thoughts. I noticed the Doppler effect in singing birds and in the jets that so commonly fly over here.
     During this exercise I learned about several types of communication including symbolic communication and what the advantages of different communication types are. Face to face communication is the most accurate and encompassing form while electronic is the fastest most accessible form and symbolic is the form requiring the least energy. During my hour without technology I did not communicate any differently than I normally do, with the exception of not using my cellphone. During this hour I did, however, notice some things that I had not before. I noticed that many of the things we learn about in our classes can be observed in nature or in the observation of people. When I go back to using technology my view is a little biased by my own opinions but I believe I relate better to others with the use of that technology. I believe that the immense capability to connect with others and there is a sense that the connectivity technology gives us the strength of numbers and it gives us the power to affect the world while moving us closer to a global society. 

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