Xviii) Too Much Reliance On Technology

Technology, such as the Web-based solutions (including e-mails, blogs, virtual worlds, etc), videoconferencing, etc, is seen as a way to reduce costs, such as travel (fares, time lost in travel, etc).

This encourages fewer face-to-face meetings which have certain characteristics that technology cannot replicate. For example, there is the information that people learn incidentally when they meet and work with people face-to-face.

The face-to-face encounter is less hurried, more personal and wide ranging. Studies (Fiona Smith, 2009y) show the results of videoconferencing is often poor quality communications, lack of awareness of others and less effective interpersonal relationships. There is less informal contact and lack of group memory (absorption of information about what others in the group are doing through general and casual conversations).

There is a greater level of intensity in the energy of a meeting with people face-to-face. This energy comes from immediate social interaction which includes body language and physical touch (handshake, etc).

Email is an impersonal, cold, plastic means of communication. It is difficult to resolve personal confrontations via Email. Angry tones, abrupt manners and even humour can be incorrectly perceived by readers of Email and frequent use of the medium results in the loss of personal, one-to-one contact which is important for effective communications and learning.

E-mails can be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. It has been found that interpreting ambiguous e-mails can be very stressful.

 

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