Is Social Communication Making It Harder For Us To Be Social?

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Not too long ago, I would just call you, and we would talk. But now, in today’s world of apps, it’s not that simple to connect anymore.

These days so many people have different preferences for how they like to communicate; maybe they use WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, phone calls, WeChat, Skype, or any one of many other apps on a seemingly endless list. All of these platforms boast that they make connecting with one another easier, but I believe the opposite is true; they make it more difficult for people to communicate.

There’s a missing link. We’re no longer connecting properly, because we don’t know how the other person likes to be contacted. If there’s someone you’re trying to reach and it’s really important to reach them, you want to get in touch with them in the way that they prefer. This is what’s missing in the puzzle that is modern day communication.

Geography also informs how we we communicate. Certain platforms are more popular than others in different countries. For example, in China, WeChat is the leading messaging platform, while in Israel WhatsApp is the platform of choice, and in other places, like the U.S., Facebook Messenger is the leading platform for short messages.

As our personal networks increasingly expand to more and more international contacts, “Which app?” is now the question many of us are asking quite often. With the future of communication embedded within apps, it is important that we know and understand which platform is most appropriate in which region. We also need to start communicating with people on the platform that they use most often. These days, in addition to learning language and culture when traveling abroad, we now must learn how to speak ‘platform’ in order to communicate effectively.

Here are some tips on how to communicate better with international clients, family, friends, or that guy you randomly met one day:

1. Know who you’re talking to

This means, know the type of person you’re talking to. Do they like social media? Are they a top business executive? Is it your technologically challenged mother? If you’re talking to a friend who loves social media, you can probably contact them on any platform and they’ll respond accordingly, but if you’re talking to a client that just hired you, for example, you’d opt for email. Most importantly, surely your mother just wants to hear the sound of your voice, so pick up your phone and give her call.

2. Know where they’re located

Our lives are more global these days and it’s often essential to speak to people abroad. Get to know which platforms are used in which countries. I’ll start your list: use WeChat to reach your contacts in China. Try Facebook to contact your friends in the Philippines. Use WhatsApp to chat to Europe. Search the web to see how people in other countries communicate, it’s fun and informative!

3. Know why you’re calling

Why are you getting in touch with this person? Is it going to require a long drawn-out conversation, is it an urgent matter, or is it something that can be discussed further down the road? Voice calling is one of the oldest forms of communication in the digital age and it’s still around because it still can be the most practical way to communicate. Truthfully, how much do you hate it when your friend types out a novel on WhatsApp and presses send after every single sentence? A phone call makes so much more sense!

4. Use apps that have multiple platform integration

Some apps are starting to get it right! Multiple platform integration is probably the most helpful way of assisting people to bridge the missing link between contacting one another. Some apps now let contacts show their preferred communication platform and through the app they can reach out to their contact and get in touch with them on their preferred platform whether it be SMS, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc. One app to rule them all!

The future of connecting missing links in communication lays with task management apps. Connecting to each other efficiently is a top priority on the to-do lists of most people in today’s world. Although many consider the telephone call to be antiquated it does continue to be a vital part of our lives. Voice calls persist, but mobile apps are changing the way you do it.

Zvika Starkman is the CMO of MyState, a communication app that allows users to see if their contact is on a call before they dial. Previously, he was the CEO of Focal-Info, and was responsible for overseeing the company’s activities developing and selling web intelligence systems, from its infancy to post-acquisition.

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