Ponder this: How often do you see an advert on the TV or in a newspaper, with an email contact rather than a phone contact? If you are an astute viewer / reader – the answer will be: “regularly”. Funnily enough, approximately 25% of advertisers these days tend to opt for an electronic medium of contact – such as a website or email address – before any other type of communication.
Why is this? What does it say about the ever changing society in which we live? In short, the answer is embedded in the question itself. Evolution, in a communications context, is pushing us away from resource consuming, stressful, and even downright awkward face-to-face contact (or voice-to-voice contact when talking on the phone) – and towards the much more efficient, convenient, and hazard free realm of impersonal, electronic correspondence. Email (electronic mail) is breaking down the barriers which were once so prevalent in our society – such as distance, a lack of confidence, and a limited amount of time.
By ensuring an email address is provided from the very first instance of a consumer being introduced to a company – the business is more likely to capture the shyer / restricted part of the market that it would lose from providing only a direct, person to person contact line. The same can be said on a personal level. Friends can communicate with each other and acquaintances can better get to know each other, as a result of the cross border, multidimensional and readily accessible facility that the Internet provides.
One thing is for sure – email is certainly the way of the future, and should be embraced by anyone looking to make their communication tasks more efficient and effective.
Considering all of the benefits of online communication mentioned above, one disadvantage which surely arises is the lack of the “human touch”. The emotion, the personality, the personalization. And although not a complete solution to lack of human touch, smiley face symbols and emoticons definitely help fill the void and convey emotion in digital communication.