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Digital communication – advantages and disadvantages

Digital communication has long since become a matter of course for many people. E-mails, messenger messages and video chats have become more and more prevalent in people’s lives since the pandemic and the associated home office work – both professionally and privately. The advantages of digital communication are manifold, but there are also risks.

Digital communication definition

What actually is digital communication? The answer is: everything that is shared or communicated with other people via digital media. There are many examples of digital communication.

This includes info mails and newsletters, online faxes, messages via messengers such as Skype, WhatsApp or Signal, but also communication via various social media portals such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Xing, Instagram or Pinterest. In the professional environment, there are also various online project tools that you can use to network with your team and work together online.

Digital vs analogue communication

Communication has not only been undergoing a digital transformation since today, if you look at it in comparison to the past. Digital and analogue communication – the differences become clear in the advantages and disadvantages of both variants.

Digital communication advantages

Thanks to the possibilities of digital communication, you save a lot of time in everyday life and at work. You can communicate very quickly via digital channels and clarify your concerns via messenger and chat. If the contact person is currently unavailable, the message can alternatively be sent by e-mail.

Using digital tools to communicate and work together makes workflows more efficient. There is no need to make phone calls and schedule time-consuming meetings to exchange information.

Whether it’s booking meeting rooms, the cost of travel to a meeting or catering – digital communication channels eliminate many of the costs that are usually incurred when organising face-to-face meetings.

Digital communication disadvantages

There are not only advantages of digital communication, but also weaknesses. The most important disadvantage is the lack of personal contact, which is still very important to many people. So instead of always meeting online and only holding meetings digitally, a face-to-face meeting should take place from time to time.

This promotes social interaction, which is particularly important in companies, but can also help freelancers and the self-employed to network better and get closer to customers. Personal contact cannot therefore be completely replaced by digital communication.

Analogue communication Advantages

The good old letter or the classic phone call – that’s how people used to communicate. This certainly had its advantages when you consider how fast-paced and therefore stressful our lives have become today due to our constant (online) availability. Being constantly available can even be a burden for many people.

Writing letters, talking on the phone or arranging a meeting – there are several advantages to personal and analogue communication. A meeting in the office, at home or in a café often allows topics and projects to be worked on in more detail and more intensively than in a digital meeting.

Disadvantages of analogue communication

One disadvantage of analogue communication is the time and organisational effort involved. It takes a few days for letters to arrive and people cannot always be reached immediately by phone. It often takes several attempts to speak to someone.

Sending a fax is also a rather one-way communication. This is because you don’t know when the recipient will process the fax and a reply usually takes a correspondingly long time.

Another disadvantage is the cost of analog communication. Traditional telephone and fax charges are often high. Mails, messenger messages and social posts, on the other hand, can be sent completely free of charge . Modern telephone flat rates keep the costs for calls, chats and video calls within reasonable limits.

Technology in transition – data protection and lack of control

Although most people today have become accustomed to modern digital communication , many older people still find it difficult to use digital media, operate mobile devices and use social media portals. New tools are constantly appearing on the market, and people first have to learn how to use them.

An important factor in dealing with digital media for young and old alike is the issue of security and data protection. Despite the advantages of digital media, there are also risks.

When using digital media, always ask yourself how your personal data is protected. Are they well protected against access by third parties or easily accessible? Are there any security settings that you can use to better protect your data and what about security against hacker attacks? Many large companies invest a lot of time and money in securing their data against unauthorised access. This should not be forgotten in private life either.

Online platforms such as social networks are difficult to control because content is posted and often shared, commented on or forwarded within a few seconds. Therefore, check exactly what content and media you make accessible, where and to whom.

Personal communication remains important

Human beings are social creatures and need personal, genuine contact with others. This cannot be replaced by increasing digital communication. Instead, digital media should be used sensibly and supplemented by real meetings.

Communication via messenger and social media can establish contact with friends or family over long distances, but cannot replace face-to-face meetings in the long term. Conversations, hugs and other social exchanges can only be experienced in real life. However, digital communication can make everyday life much easier and save a lot of time. Information is sent quickly and appointments are arranged within seconds.

In companies, too, digital forms of communication should by no means be the sole substitute for physical communication, but rather an effective supplement to it. Personal exchanges between employees remain important for cohesion and team spirit.

Conclusion:

The advantages of digital communication are many, but there are also some disadvantages. If you compare analog and digital communication, you can quickly see that although the time saved in exchanging information is enormous, there is no personal contact. A good balance between digital and personal communication should therefore be the goal in both private and professional environments.

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