Larry BraunerPeople have been communicating for thousands of years. There are two basic forms of communication, synchronous and asynchronous.

During synchronous communication all parties interact without any time lapse. Face-to-face speaking, telephone conversations and Instant Messaging are all synchronous. The word “Instant” just about sums it up.

During asynchronous communication parties interact at intervals, either because of convenience or out of necessity. Mail, messengers, fax mail, voice mail and e-mail are all asynchronous.

The accessibility and speed of fax mail, voice messaging and e-mail have revolutionized and popularized asynchronous communication. People appreciate the reply-when-you-want convenience of it as well as its ability to transcend time zones and facilitate global communication.

In major corporations e-mail has become the primary method of contact. Memos are passe and telephone calls are considered somewhat intrusive. But don’t expect phone calls and staff meetings to ever disappear, because, as I indicated in a previous post, people crave the High Touch intimacy that meetings afford them.

However, out in the world-at-large e-mail has taken a big hit recently. Spam filtering by Internet service providers and concerns about privacy have led the populace to seek something more reliable and secure. Enter social networking sites! These sites are capable of providing us with the functionality that e-mail did in the past plus a big additional benefit, file sharing.

The asynchronous nature of social networking sites, and the ability of these sites to replace e-mail, have contributed greatly to the popularity of this form of interaction.

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