Saturday, 18 April 2009


A conveyance of meaning to generate shared understanding.

I am sitting at my lap top writing this blog, chatting occasionally with my partner who is watching TV on the sofa, with tweets flashing in the top right of my screen, the odd beep of emails arriving and my blackberry sitting at my right hand (as always).

On radio four the other evening I heard Seamus Heaney saying he refused to have an email account, because letters were overwhelming, but text was something he used a lot, and had even learned to use predictive text (he is well into his 80s and recently had a stroke).

So we do lots of 'Communication' but sometimes these modes of communication don't suit us and sometimes they do. Text has taken off hugely because there is synergy between the technology and our desire to remain in touch with little emotional input. But amplifying this emotional shyness with technology doesn't always prove beneficial. We have all heard the story of redundancies delivered or relationships ended by text. So the technology beckons us over the line to cowardice in a painless way.

Twitter is another new communication phenomena. Until recently I would have loudly said it was a wasteful phenomena, encouraging pointless and trivial flirtations with 'almost communicating'. But I was ignoring an important truth about communication.

If its popular, it is important.

And I think it is a new way of communicating that doesn't have an analogue in the analogue world (ie email = letter, text = telegram, blog = essay). However, I think the next great advances in technology and communication will not be in new forms of communication, but in bending these forms into our service. Today, we are dominated and overwhelmed by information and are being communicated at, and to, in ways that don't obviously enhance our lives.

Allowing people to move between creative media, to collaborate, share and filter, using tools of their choice, to invite silence or hubub, in global teams or splendid isolation, or both in sequence, in ways that enhance our emotional and spiritual well-being, are aspirations that entrepreneurs today are working towards.

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