Thursday, May 22, 2008

Communications breakdown

This article is basically saying that full communications can only be experienced face-to-face. You lose too many of the non-verbal indicators such as facial changes and hand gestures and intonations of tone in conversation.

Not particularly new information or even newsworthy but I bring it forward here because of what this means for globalization.

Globalization, by definition, means teams of people geographically dispersed throughout the world. Communication is rarely achieved face-to-face. Therefore the same issues raised in this article on personal communications online and it's caveats also pertain to online communications at work.

The human and social aspects of having isolated groups of people interacting daily as a 'team' are never brought up as the tide of globalization sweeps the world. There is no doubt that there will be many studies and probably from the same Universities and consulting firms now lauding the process, pointing out significant deleterious effects of these workplace changes.

It will be like an 'approved' drug, dispensed for several years, that is 'suddenly' shown to have no effect on symptoms but rather that it has widespread negative effects.

The drug, like globalization, will then be re-marketed (since it has had so much investment in it that it can't be just abandoned) with new guidelines , e.g. Use it for back-office work requiring little inter-team communications. Or some such thing.

Over time globalization as we know it today will be abandoned as an organizational structure that is not efficient enough. The old workplace will not return fully but business will trend back closer toward that model.

Note also that globalization has a basic requirement for cheap energy and cheap communication infrastructure. Cheap energy has suddenly disappeared and will not likely return in the short-term and possibly in many people's work lifetimes today. Cheap communications has not been affected but it also runs on energy - electricity generated from many sources. There is no doubt that communications will be greatly affected by costly energy also and that globalization in it's current form will suffer for it.

Add in the social and political unrest caused by high energy costs and the resultant high costs of staple foods and globalization is further affected. One of the other tenets of globalization is that countries are stable socially and politically for it to work. Those that are not cannot participate. Many countries today are just a veneer of stability and may turn overnight.

It appears that the future of global companies is not as bright as they may currently seem. I would bet against companies that have significantly followed the global trend these past few years.

May 22, 2008

Online Love Is Often Blind, Brief: Study

Filed at 7:54 a.m. ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Matches made over the Internet often do not last because people end up choosing unsuitable partners and forming emotional bonds before meeting face-to-face, an Australian university researcher has found.

Women were especially susceptible to finding Mr. Wrong, as they tend to be attracted by witty comments or clever emails, said psychologist Matthew Bambling from the Queensland University of Technology.

"You can never assume things are the way they seem online," Bambling told Reuters on Thursday.

"Just because they can write a clever comment or a witty email, doesn't mean they will be Mr. Right, that's for sure," he said, adding some men use the concept of "netting," sending emails to dozens of women and hoping one might respond.

Bambling said you can find a partner online, but warned those using the Web to find love to be aware of the pitfalls.

"There's definitely a dis-inhibition affect online," he said, with people more likely to exaggerate their good points while hiding anything negative.

"Few guys for example would say 'look, I'm a middle aged alcoholic who's been married five times, pick me'. They're going to present themselves as a good catch."

He said it was easy for people to quickly invest too much emotionally in an online relationship because they don't see the full picture of the person they are emailing.

He said some people can also become addicted to the rush of replies they receive on dating websites, which can lead to future disappointment.

Bambling said people can avoid many of the problems by meeting early in the virtual relationship, rather than by getting to know each other only by email.

He suggests couples arrange to meet over coffee after a few emails, which will help people from building up a fantasy image of their match.

"The main thing to remember is to make real life contact as soon as possible if you are to interested in someone, because then you will know if a relationship is a possibility," he said.

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