As a member of the Business Education Students’ Society, Education Students’ Society, head coach of a community basketball team, and communicator of my womens’ league basketball team, I have noticed a lot of changes with forms of communication recently. Phone calls are almost non-existent in attempts to communicate with large groups of people and I have recently noticed a number of different attempts that groups use to stay in contact.
With the team I coach, the parents have decided that e-mail is the best form of communication to be used. This is also helpful to me because I can get the same message to all of the parents in a matter of seconds instead of having to make individual phone calls. Some of the parents even prefer text-messaging to communicate if their child is going to miss a practice or game.
With the team I play for, I am in charge of sending out team updates such as schedule changes or team meetings, etc. Last year the team had agreed that e-mails were the best way to communicate, but this year we changed to communicating through the message mail system on Facebook as well as texting and creating a group using the Blackberry Messenger on blackberry mobile devices.
The two students’ societies that I am also a member of have both stuck to e-mail communication and try to keep faculties updated through the use of blogs, facebook pages and twitter.
As I have been exposed to the different forms of communicating, I have also found this year to be much more difficult in terms of response. I have noticed that e-mails rarely return a response unless an important issue needs to be discussed, which sometimes leave me wondering if everyone received the message or if they just read it and forgot about it. Facebook messaging seems to get the greatest response for which I give credit to the bright red bubble that indicates a new message is waiting to be read/responded to once you log in… and the fact that the demographic I use this tool for checks their Facebook page at least once a day. I have also noticed that text messaging is not returning the response that it used to have, people are often busy and will read a text but forget to send a response when they have more time.
I think that a large part of this communication and response issue is due to the increase in smartphones. I often find myself receiving an e-mail on my phone and thinking “I’ll respond to this later” then completely forgetting about it. In regards to text messaging, blackberry messenger allows you to see if your message has been delivered and read which creates more of an instant message feel and a more likeliness to respond, it makes regular text messaging look like postal mail.
The part that concerns me the most about this is how do we communicate with large groups of people when the regular forms of communication are no longer working? When it comes to advertising an event, how do we gain student interest and awareness when we are having trouble even gaining their attention to an e-mail? Are posters and hard-copy advertising obsolete? And what does this say about how we will need to communicate with our students in the future?