The Communication Problem at the Heart of Our Digital Era, Part 2

The Communication Problem at the Heart of Our Digital Era, Part 2

Every single human voice has a slightly different mix of its basic pitch, undertones and overtones.  Added together and they give each voice a distinctive quality – what musicians call the timbre of an instrument, only for the voice.  You are so good at hearing the timbre of human voices that you can identify every […]

The Communication Problem at the Heart of Our Digital Era, Part 1

The Communication Problem at the Heart of Our Digital Era, Part 1

We live half our lives in the virtual world, half in the real, so that many of our communications are wholly virtual, and that’s a human disaster. The ongoing human emotional train wreck that is the digital era began, arguably, with email and the attempt to solve two particular problems with older forms of communication:  […]

If Virtual Communication Is so Important, Why Do I Feel so Bad Using It?

For most people, moving into the digital world to communicate means experiencing significant loss of clarity, ease, and depth.  You struggle to convey the lightness of tone you want in an email, and risk offending your colleague because the smile doesn’t come through.  You tune out during an audio conference because some connection is missing […]

What’s Wrong with Virtual Communication, Part 2

Virtual relationships are more fragile and easily disrupted because they all lack the unconscious connections our face-to-face interactions automatically convey.  The lift of an eyebrow, a quick smile, a shake of the head – these are the ways we decode other people’s intents.  They are largely absent from all forms of digital communication. In business, […]

What’s Wrong with Virtual Communication, Part 1

We are all unwitting participants in a massive social experiment that began slowly after World War II and gathered speed in the last decade with the introduction of the smart phone.  We have created virtual personas, online worlds, digital connections, social media lives, email relationships, audio-conference teams, video linkups – the whole panoply of ways […]

What’s Missing in Virtual Communications?

What’s Missing in Virtual Communications?

We humans learned to communicate when we dressed in skins, fought with clubs, and talked in grunts.  The human community was a frail group arrayed against monsters like woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers.  Speed of reaction was essential.  Instant reading of intent – correctly – meant the difference between life and death.  We learned to […]

What’s Missing from Your Virtual Communications and How to Fix Them – 1

What’s Missing from Your Virtual Communications and How to Fix Them – 1

The virtual world offers us two great conveniences.  Indeed, you can make a reasonable claim that the virtual world depends for its success on these twin pillars:  freedom from friction, and freedom from simultaneity. What does that mean?  Before email, we had to write or type out letters, memos, reports, white papers – the entire […]