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Friday, December 7, 2012

Can you hear me now?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 FIRST PUBLISHED

Is our message getting through?

First posted 8-29-09 (dated contend still valid as examples) 

Listening is the most difficult communication skill.

Concentration levels are under assault by an ever-increasing barrage of messages.

Attention spans have decreased.

And we have cultural difference by age, gender, income level, education level, geography, religion, language, country, and region of the world.

In Communication Studies this is referred to as noise, interference, screens, filters or barriers.
Americans tend to look upon the world as an extension of our country.

We all tend to look upon America as an extension of our neighborhood, city or social class. Yet the differences coast to coast and across the world on how and why people listen, how they interpret messages and their responses vary greatly, are almost literally day and night.

When understanding, for example, locals in Afghanistan you cannot lump them in with Iraqi's, who are much different than Iranians or Saudis, and very much different in communication criteria and interpretation than Americans.

The following discusses America’s communication campaign in the Middle East and why it may not be working as intended.

Admittedly the story attached does come from a source I take with a grain of salt (FOX news) and goes much broader than just words or images, but it ties credibility (Ethos) and belief to whether a message is being received as it is intended.

Why are we mistrusted? Why is our form of Democracy or capitalism so foreign? Why can't they join us on our page? Who are we to tell them how to govern or what to believe? How can we improve upon our message or build our credibility in Afghanistan? Around the world? At home?

Why is the US Congress so polarized?

Why are health care forums shouting matches of "us vs them" (dichotomies)?

How can we, as individuals or groups, improve communication and enhance listening skills?

SAG Military Personnel and Families Support Task Force

On this the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, National SAG President Ken Howard has named me to continue the SAG Military Personnel and Families Support Task Force and the new joint union committee. It is an honor to serve, in respect to all of those serving our nation here and around he world.

-Art Lynch

MOOCS in Education: Greener Pastures or Herd Mentality

How we think and communicate

Communication, as we know it, is changing forever. The change is impacting who we are, our values and morals, our ways of conceiving throughts and invention, our politics, our depth of knowledge and our perception of ourselves. 
We are changing as a society, in ways that are less or more productive, depending on your perception. Speed and multi-tasking have taken the place of reason and contemplation. In depth knowledge is being replaced with the knowledge of how to find specifics quickly.

Google has done a study of how we think, and in doing so has discovered in many ways they are contributing to a change that even Google executives find disturbing. We no longer read in-depth, but scan and follow linear based links, skipping over the details favoring mostly the fast journalistic pyramid leads, or whatever catches our eye. We scan quickly, tracked in lab experiments, following a rapid pattern rather than reading slowly left to right in regular movements. Our retention is down on facts, but up on slogans, catch phrases and images, often with little context or details.

At the same time the net is capturing us into an age where we will access to more information than ever before, able to research, seek out our own identities and leave our personal marks as never before in human history. The Internet reflects a shift to the “me” generation over the “us,” the “my” over “our” and the small tight knit group over the broader “us”.

This has impacted politics, perhaps explaining the current deadlock in Congress and the world of hateful signage and “booing” over civility in discourse and the compromise needed to govern.

Google studies found that current readers want information quickly, in a short digest form and as current and relevant to them as possible. There is a loss of geographic identity in favor or interests group, profession, church, political belief or other “on-line” identities.

As for the future of books, newspapers and magazines, that will depend on how they can adapt to what consumers want. 
Long in depth information sources, generally requireing a written literacy, vocabulary capable of concpeptualization and  a non-linear way of attacking isuses and thoughts, may be on the decline, replaced by a wide range of rapidly available information sources well beyond what could have been conceived of ten years ago much less when most education theory was conceived.

Images, sounds, slogans, generalities and fast reads are replacing immersion and patient reviw of the world around us.

Google’s study warns that there needs to be a real effort to avoid the pure commercial model or those who are higher educated or elite will become the only fully informed class with the ability to read “long form” and consider issues “in depth”.  There needs to be an effort in homes and schools to reinforce longer form information and in general reading over scanning and graphic interface.

Google is part of a major corporate support structure for education and to encourage students of all ages to read more than the headlines or key points they may find on their cell phone internet scanners.
Newspapers readers would pick up stories they may not have been looking for as they scan or they complete the continuation of the story that started them reading. The general liberal arts interests of society that helped stitch diverse concepts and interests together depends on this sort of experimentation and exploration. Great libraries are being scanned into computers and stacks run by robots, rather than allowing potential readers to page through dusty book racks and in doing so discover the books several books, rows or sections over. We are entering an age of controled searches instead of meandering adventures that led to new discoveries and connections that we may not have considered had we approached life in a linear fashion.
What is being lost in this process? What is being gained by the rapid access to information directly sought? What are we losing was we turn to a joy stick, keyboard, mobile divice, video and audio constant stimulus life over one of isolation as we emersed ourself in our reading or studies?

This is a new field, with no conclusions, only observations, opinions and the tracking of our blind move forward into our computer generated future.

Let's hope it is one that brings progress, understanding and faith.

So far, slogans, hate, linear thinking and polatization seem to be the short term impact of our new literacy and our new society.

-Art Lynch

First posted 4/2/10