Instant Communications – Good or Bad?

One of the biggest changes of technology over the past 25 years is now we have instant communications. 30 years ago instant communications was through the telephone. It may not have mattered where one was, a phone could easily be found. Payphones were everywhere.

If you needed to ask a question of your supervisor, you dropped a dime or a quarter or two into a payphone and called the office, hoping they would be at their desk. If they weren’t, you made the decision yourself and moved along. If you were good you already knew the answer even before asking the question.

As time passed communications got easier and for the roaming employee more like a leash. First there were the one way pager. You received a message to call a telephone number and off you went to find a phone to return the call.

For a short period of time, the same time as mobile communications, the car phone, was developing there were 2 way pagers. You could receive a message, in 2 way paging it was usually a text question and you could returned an answer with one of the pre-programmed messages. 2 way pagers were much cheaper and more reliable than a mobile cell phone.

Mobile phones first were in the car and then in a portable device that resembled a brick. And as we progress in technology, instant communications became easier.

But it seems to me that at times as communications became more instant, people became less able to decide something without having another opinion. It developed not only in the work arena but also at home. Many times I have heard a husband or a wife call the other partner while in a grocery store asking whether a substitution was acceptable.

Decisions are made as a team or by the supervisor. Original thinking by a lower level employee was no longer commendable, but became insubordination even in middle and lower upper management.

One would think that with instant communications issues can be resolved quicker and with a better outcome. However, at times I wonder if with instant communications it takes longer and the decision may not be the correct one. The farther the decision maker is from the situation, the less that person considers the personal customer service aspect of the decision.

So I will ask.

Is Instant Communications Good or Bad?

What is your opinion?

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I would like to put a link to your site on my blog roll if you want to do the same for mine. It would be a good way to build up both of our readerships.

thank you.

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