Technology and Communications: How Far We’ve Come and Where We’re Going
It’s amazing to reflect on how far communications technology has come in fifteen years. In 1994, we were still excited about the advent of the fax. As the 90’s progressed the cell phone and mobile communications began to take hold of society.
And then, the biggest change to our lives since the advent of the automobile – email! What did we do before email? How did we communicate with everyone we needed to each day, professionally and personally? Do you even remember life before e-mail? Remember, we used the phone and spent hours leaving messages and waiting for return calls. And, we communicated with less people on a daily basis. Email changed the way we communicate, adding convenience and expediting time and volume, but removing much of the emotion of speaking with someone in person or over the phone. What’s amazing is that today, nearly every generation has adopted email; Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y – email has become the nucleus, and some would argue the standard, for communications.
And now we have the next group of technologies entering the communications world; SMS (short message service, or text), Social Networking and IM (instant message). In the social networking arena, the primary groups are growing at an astounding rate. Facebook now has over 175 million active users. Are we moving to a world where intra company communication is conducted through a social networking portal, similar to Facebook? Are companies moving to a service strategy focused around SMS and IM? The answers to the questions are still undetermined, but with the employment of Generation Y, we can guarantee that changes will be coming in the future. Email will be replaced as the standard communications tool, even in the workplace, but by what? Only time will tell. It may be a combination of many mediums, or it may be something on the horizon that has yet to be introduced. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!