“One to Many” Communication

Which style of communication do you like better? One to One, or One to Many?

A “non Social Media” friend of mine asked me “What’s new with you?” just now. I showed her a multi-person live video/audio/text chat application that I embedded on my blog, and then she goes “So, what’s new with you?”

I would have thought she was kidding, except I could see from her face and her body language that she felt like I had avoided her question instead of answering it. WHAT’S NEW is that we have this capability now to interact with each other whenever we want to. WHAT’S NEW is that I don’t have to travel to DELAWARE to see, talk to and share a laugh with my cousin. WHAT’S NEW is that I don’t have to waste my time traveling from location to location when I can press one button and talk live to someone RIGHT. NOW.

Once I got her to understand what I was showing her, her response was that she wouldn’t want to use that stuff. She likes telephones, texting, etc. She’s clearly a fan of One to One communication. I’m a fan of One to Many communication.

I’m sorry… The days of calling 50 people on the phone and telling them one at a time that the blip.tv Summer Party was OFF. THE. HOOK!!! are OVER! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m gonna put that information on Facebook or on Twitter or on my blog, and whomever happens to be interested is going to check it out.. Asynchronously.. On their own time.. Even if they check it out three weeks from now, it’ll still be there (on my blog, at least.. Nobody’s going to dig that far on Facebook or Twitter.. If it’s even POSSIBLE to go back that far on those services). All that tell-it-to-one-person stuff is O-VER! ๐Ÿ˜€

One to Many communication is different, and it’s potentially an acquired taste. You have to be interested in, or see some personal benefit in talking to people in front of other people. One potential benefit is not having to repeat yourself. I know that personally, once I tell a story a couple of times, I get *BORED* of telling it. Even if I tell it to someone later, they don’t get the same experience as when I was actually INTERESTED in telling the story. One to Many allows me to express to everyone who’s interested, the same thing, one time.. Regardless of when each individual actually reads, watches or listens to it.

From the ensuing conversation, I learned that what she doesn’t like about One to Many is the lack of intimacy between people. She would rather have a One to One conversation and expend all of her intimacy in a focused, meaningful manner. It’s like having two cans on a string as opposed to sending out a message in a bottle. You don’t know who’s getting the message in the bottle, but you KNOW who’s holding the other can and talking back to you.

That’s actually a downside of One to Many… It encourages “lurking”. Lurking is probably what you’re doing right now… Reading this post and not commenting on it. Checking it out, getting the information and then going away. I think lurking is actually the norm and de-lurking is atypical on the internet. According to quantcast, there are ~8,000 people that visit my site each month and I probably have 8 regular commenters. ๐Ÿ˜€ So part of One to Many communication, such as this blog post you’re reading, is that you’re writing to the EVENTUAL reader. I’m actually writing to nobody at all when I blog. I’m writing something for myself, and if someone else chooses to read it, fine. If they choose to comment, fine. If they choose to discuss it with me in person, like how David Jr. complimented me on my wedding series at the blip.tv party or how Jeff’s friend Mike told me he reads DatingGenius, that’s appreciated, and that’s great. ๐Ÿ˜€

The fact of the matter, though, is that there’s no instant gratification to blogging. When you press that “publish” button, there’s no telling whether 10 people are going to read it or 1,000 people (eventually). There’s no telling whether people that you WANT to read the post are going to read it or whether it’ll be all randoms that you don’t know at all. Talking to someone on the phone or texting them and getting a text right back is immediate intimate gratification, so I understand why she likes those formats.

The way I see it, the more advanced the technology becomes, the better, the faster and the more often we’ll be able to communicate with each other. That *HAS* to be a good thing, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

Then again, there are people that would rather communicate with FEWER people that they’re more intimate with instead of more people that they don’t see or speak to as often. There are also people that would like to speak to people that are specifically speaking to them. What systems like Twitter set up is a culture where people mind other people’s business, because those people are putting their business out in the streets to be minded. You listen in on what other people say and you throw in your two cents or start your own conversations or ask questions or whatever you want to do. It’s a completely different style of communicating. Some people don’t get it. Some people don’t WANT to get it.. They just aren’t interested.

Another reason I like One to Many is that I’m used to talking to groups. When I blog, it’s not just to one person, and when I’m talking about things IRL, it’s normally to a group of 3-7 people. I’m used to the efficiency of saying things one time, having a lot of people get it and then not having to repeat myself. I think it’s something you get used to, and then you save One to One for private communications… Well… Even then, most of these Social Media sites and apps can be sorted into groups, so even if you don’t tell EVERYONE what you’re thinking, you can still tell that group of people in an efficient manner.

I guess the question is how many people you have in your circle and how many of them you like to express things to. Also, what you get out of communicating AT ALL. Some people express ideas directly to other people in order to get that immediate gratification of being heard, understood and potentially replied to. Other people like to express things to the cosmos and see what happens…..

~ Bill Cammack

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4 Comments

  1. I would say the two communication preferences can be synergistic.

    As an example, consider a television–a large picture is the result of the simultaneous projection of a plethora of minuscule pixels. With a deeper understanding of each pixel–mechanics, color, etc.–a TV could be developed with a better image. However, if you never stepped back to take a look at the bigger picture, you’d have no idea about the variety of different content that could be integrated onto the screen.

    In my opinion, the same applies to people. Societies are not individual entities but rather conglomerates that are made up of individual entities with individual needs. A deeper understanding of each can be gained through attention to both.

    I prefer both, with some bias toward one-on-one.

    1. Interesting way to look at it, EasyEC.

      I think one-to-one is useful for developing relationships and one-to-many is good for efficiency in broadcasting information and establishing presence.

      Thanks for the comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. LOL! Man, I would love to discuss this with you further, but only on a one-to-one basis. You’ve said some revealing things that I think would benefit from scrutiny but in this public forum context I suspect you wouldn’t consider the information as effectively. So I won’t waste the time except to ask these few…

    Are you saying that having a heartfelt 1 to 1 has no value for you? Also, how do you build a (new) relationship with people that you only communicate with on a one to many? Also what kind of stories do you have that are really worth retelling over and over until you’re bored that other people are actually interested in?

    “Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm used to the efficiency of saying things one time, having a lot of people get it and then not having to repeat myself” – Do you let people ask questions as you go or do you ask them to hold to the end? Do they pay you a fee when you’re done?

    Who says faster and more often = better communication? We spend more effort and time paring down the incoming com stream then ever in the history of man yet we’re just as dead in the end. How is this better?

    Bro, help me get my head my around this. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Very good questions, Steve. I will attempt to answer them.

      A heartfelt 1 to 1 has value to me only inasmuch as the information is uniquely important to the one person I’m speaking to. If I want to say I posted a new video from a party I went to, that’s general information, which I’d like to disseminate to as many people as possible at the same time in order to increase efficiency and avoid redundancy. Since most of what I have to say is for general consumption and not solely pertinent to one individual, I enjoy one-to-many much more.

      The way you (I) build a new relationship with people that you only communicate with on a one-to-many basis is to recognize, appreciate and honor their reaction to your ‘message in a bottle’. Pretty much every time I go somewhere, someone brings up something I wrote or a video I posted, which lets me know they got the message. Not only did they get the message, but they ‘cared’ enough to INDICATE that they got the message. Your reply, which I’m replying to right now, is an example of this.

      Another example is that I was at the same party I linked to, above, and I was talking with David Jr. about something, and out of the blue, he compliments me on my 31-episode wedding series that I posted in May. Before that, I had no idea that he had seen “12”, or that he had ever been to my site or seen ONE of my videos at all. I appreciated that and told him so.

      A third example is when I’ll meet someone and they’ll tell me they enjoy my dating blog. I’m flattered that they read it and happy that they enjoy it. I might be thinking specifically of them when I write something from that point on, as part of the set of people that might get my message in the bottle.

      So, the relationships are built from there. It’s mutual appreciation. Synergy. Electricity. Biology. Seems to me.. It’s Chemistry….

      As far as stories that are “worth” telling over and over, haha.. I’m not saying that that’s the case… What I’m saying is that I only have a certain amount of interest in expressing my own stories to someone else. Once I expend that energy, I don’t want to tell the story again. That could be on the fourth or fifth time through, I’m just DONE with it all. This is why blogging works for me. I get to tell the story and then when I’m done, it sits there on the web for people to find when they’re googling for it. So much information would be totally LOST if I hadn’t written it down and floated it out into the universe. Does it really matter? No. However, enough people have approached me out of the blue that have told me they read my material that I know that it’s worth it to me to leave it for people to find. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As far as people asking me questions, they normally can’t, because what happens in my life doesn’t happen in most people’s lives. They have no point of reference to question me or even throw in their own similar stories. If they do ask questions, it’s because they don’t understand something or don’t BELIEVE something, in which case, I illuminate the path for them.

      They don’t pay me a fee when I’m done because I’m speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for them. Some people, like yourself, express themselves by having kids. I express myself by having ideas, figuring things out for myself and for other people. I enjoy ‘the game’ and just about everything that comes with it. I enjoy the looks on people’s faces when I tell them what I tell them. I enjoy their reactions and comments. My payment is their “getting” of the message. Whether they do anything with that message is only icing on the cake.

      You bring up interesting points that I have to think about, and I appreciate that. It’s absolutely true that I’d rather speak to the entire world (as I sometimes do from this blog) than speak to one person and drop some science on them that I’m either going to have to repeat in the future or let go of. I think the desire to communicate one-to-one comes from the belief that the person you’re talking to is unique and is going to uniquely do something with what you’re telling them. If that’s not the case, I’d rather speak to anyone that’s a “contact”, “friend” or “follower” of mine and enjoy the gems I get back when one or more of them inform me that they got the message and I get to acknowledge and appreciate them for telling me so.

      Thanks for the comments. ๐Ÿ˜€

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