Digital communication has long become a matter of course in everyday life for many. E-mails, messenger messages and video chats have found their way into people's lives more and more - both professionally and privately - since the pandemic and the associated home office work. The advantages of digital communication are many, but there are also risks.
Definition of Digital Communication
These include info mails and newsletters, the online fax, messages via messenger 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 through which you are networked with your team and can work together online.
Digital vs Analogue Communication
It is not only since today that communication is undergoing a digital transformation, 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.
Advantages of Digital Communication
Thanks to the possibilities of digital communication, you save a lot of time in everyday life and at work. You can exchange information very quickly via digital channels and clarify your concerns via messenger and chats. If the contact person is not available at the moment, the message can alternatively be sent by e-mail.
Communicating and working together via digital tools makes workflows more efficient. There is no need to make phone calls and schedule time-consuming meetings to exchange ideas.
Whether it's booking meeting rooms, the cost of travelling to a meeting or catering - digital communication channels eliminate many of the costs that are usually incurred for organising face-to-face meetings.
Disadvantages of Digital Communication
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 holding meetings only digitally, a face-to-face meeting should take place once in a while.
This promotes social interaction, which is especially important in companies, but can also contribute to better networking and more proximity to customers for freelancers and self-employed people. Personal contact can therefore not be completely replaced by digital communication.
Advantages of Analogue Communication
The good old letter or the classic telephone call - that's how people used to communicate. This had its advantages, considering how fast-paced and stressful our lives have become today due to constant (online) availability. Being available all the time can even be perceived as stressful for many people.
Writing letters to each other, talking on the phone or arranging a meeting - there are some advantages in personal and analogue communication. At a meeting in the office, at home or in a café, topics and projects can often 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. It takes a few days for letters to arrive and people are not always immediately available by phone. It often takes several attempts to speak to someone. Sending a fax is also a rather one-way communication. 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 analogue communication. Traditional telephone and fax charges are often high. E-mails, messenger messages and social posts, on the other hand, can be sent completely free of charge. Modern telephone flat rates, on the other hand, keep the costs for telephone calls, chats and video calls in check.
Changing Technology - 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, mobile devices and 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 is the issue of security and data protection. Despite the many advantages of digital media, they also have risks.
When using digital media, always ask yourself about the protection of your personal data. Are they well protected against access by third parties or are they easily accessible? Are there security settings with which you can better protect your data and what about security against hacker attacks? Many large companies invest a lot of time and money to secure their data from outside 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 seconds. Therefore, control exactly what content and media you make available, where and to whom.
Personal Communication Remains Important
Humans are social beings and need personal, genuine contact with others. This cannot be replaced by increasing digital communication. Rather, 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 can be sent quickly and appointments can be made within seconds.
In companies, too, digital forms of communication should by no means be the sole substitute, but rather an effective supplement for physical communication. Personal exchange among employees remains important for cohesion and team spirit.