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! :D 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! :D
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. :D 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. :D
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? :D
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…..