I knew about this. I knew he wanted it, and was shocked that he had let it slip.
She went on to explain, “His generation operates by text, they don’t understand that the business world operates by email.”
Apparently my son hadn’t checked his email.
I agreed his generation, doesn’t use email as its prime mode of communication. They don’t check it as they do their texts. But, I thought, my email is a dark hole. Things get buried there so quickly. Anything that matters doesn’t go there. Surely executives have similar issues.
“You see,” she went on, “he (the executive) is continually on planes, the only way he can communicate on a flight is by email. He can’t text.”
Oh, got it. Interesting.
We thrive on communication. The ways and the speed at which we do it are exploding. How we harness it, is complicated. And as always, audience matters. If we don’t ask ourselves how do they connect, what are their constraints, and how do I best reach them, we might not connect.
My mother had to learn to call my cell phone. I don’t answer the land line. Forget calling my daughter. Text is the only thing that will get a response.
You might think this is a generational divide. But consider this: I’m trying to get my friend, who is new to Twitter, to a chat. If I want her to get the message as to the time and hashtag, I text her the information. Tweeting her wouldn’t work. That’s not how she gets her information.
So it’s not just generational; it’s how people access information. And as I thought about it, it’s more than just access, it’s about purpose.
I recently let Voxer into my life. Initially, I resisted. One more way to get communication felt overwhelming. But I’ve found, Voxer has a purpose and a place. It allows for a spoken group conversation. Thoughts expressed through talk are different. They are less restrictive and open up possibilities that might be limited by written words. We know talk is necessary in our classrooms, why not in professional development.
Last week, I was involved in a Google doc discussion on a book. We choose this because of accessibility but also for the type of communication. We wanted a flexible, communal space to share our ideas. Access, our purpose, and the message being conveyed mattered. The tool we choose to communicate with had to match the needs.
With all of this choice in our personal and professional lives, what about our classrooms. The ways we can communicate are so varied and changing, how do we decide what works best for our students. Perhaps by looking through the lens of audience access, message and purpose the choice will become clearer.
And as for my son, apparently it wasn’t too late. Emails were sent and received. The executive was impressed. The opportunity was saved.
Happy ending and lesson learned: it won’t matter how good the message is if it isn’t heard.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog for providing a place every Tuesday to share our writing. Find more slices here.