Communicating with Less

Last week, I participated in my first Twitter Chat for the Ross School of Business. The goal was to answer questions on the spot and to provide a little insight into not just our community, but into the resources that we offer.

Having only tweeted a meager 20 or so tweets in my very limited tweeting career, this was not my usual cup of tea. As the hour ticked by, answering questions in 140 characters became an entirely new form of writing that I had to adapt to. How in the world do you say everything you need to say in such a short character count? Thank goodness it reminds you exactly how many letters you have left.

And then I’m left to wonder, do those people with the questions actually get the response and the answers that they were looking for? In business, we always center on short, simple, and concise. Tweeting has got to be as concise as you can get. But do we achieve the balance of content with brevity? What if, one day, we all learn to communicate in less than 140 characters? Will it be because we’ve said all we have to say or because we simply don’t have anything to say to each other?

As we incorporate more and more social media into our lives, I’m starting to wonder exactly how it will actually define our lives. Will we set the rules for our own communication, or will our communication set the rules for how we live?

2 thoughts to “Communicating with Less”

  1. I love you. Your posts are so thoughtful, and you touch on a lot of your ideas about a topic as you write- you make it easy to follow your thoughts!

    I really like it that you brought up this idea of brevity in writing. With Twitter and other forms of writing too (i.e. cover letters), we’re taught to be brief. We’re taught to leave out any information that isn’t absolutely necessary or that doesn’t bring something to our overall purpose. I feel like this rule of thumb, “be brief,” is good when it comes to writing. It makes my sentences (I think..) more clear and easier to gain purpose from. But it kind of messes with me sometimes when it comes to other forms of communication. For example, I’ve noticed that over the last few years I’ve started to consider a lot more carefully if and when I should speak up in conversation. Do I share my opinion or my added perception of any discussion, or do I leave it out if it isn’t adding something? Am I wasting other people’s time? These are things I’ve learned to become really conscious of in communicating- in some ways, biting my tongue- I think because of this “be brief” rule.

  2. The idea of communication so in such brief and concise ways leads me to consider other ways that communication has already changed. In the span of our lifetimes, cell phones and social media have disturbed life as we knew it, quite literally. I remember speaking to others via phone calls via my friends parents answering the phone. Now, kids are growing up with social media and cell phones. I feel that the gap between our generation, the last that grew up without these new communication styles, and the generation that follows us will be immense. Will they be able to expand and elaboration upon their ideas? How will schools respond to this?

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