This is the eighth chapter of my chapter-by-chapter review of John Dyer’s “From the Garden to the City.” You can read my other posts here.

Words aren’t ever taken at face value. 

The words we use are only part of the conversation.  When someone is talking, we hear them in light of our past experiences with them, based on their tone, on their inflection, on their body language.

Media communication works the same way.  If I send you a text message and a snail mail letter, they carry different meanings.  An old fashioned letter in the mail carries more weight.  Few people keep encouraging emails for years and years, but I know plenty of individuals with boxes of old cards.

Telling my wife I love her via text is cute, writing her a letter is romantic.

In today’s culture the huge temptation is to send texts or facebook messages.  Or if I’ve got time, a full blown email.  Rarely do we call, and even more rare is the letter in the mail.  But we lose something when we only use the most recent technology.  The most recent technology turns conversation into a newspaper.  We don’t talk. I give you information.  We never get into how life is going, because our conversation is on a need to know basis.

What form of communication do you use the most?  What’s your favorite reason for using it?

Image Courtesy of / Simon Howden

18 responses to Mediums.

  1. Depends on the day. I think it’s also important to say what can and can’t be done in a given medium. The Watchmen can’t truly exist outside of graphic novel. The New World can’t exist outside of film. The Brother’s K is novel and novel only.

    Because of that, the medium is the message. We end up communicating simply by what medium we use.

    Which is why I’m trying to be more verbal with my wife.

  2. I use the phone and Email most often, because I’m most often communicating in business contexts where a facebook message or text would be inappropriate. Emails are great for quick notes, but I actually think that talking over the phone is often the quickest and most effective way to communicate.

    • Yeah, I can imagine that it probably wouldn\’t go over real well if you decided to text or Twitter clients instead of email or phone call. I like phone because you can tell the tone of someone\’s voice. Email can be a little ambiguous.

  3. I use texts and email a lot. I hate talking on the phone and my handwriting is terrible. I always told people that’s why I chose to type for a living.(my old job) Anyway, we’re a generation who doesn’t know how to ask good questions. I’ve been challenged more and more lately to listen to their answers. It’s a good change 🙂

    • I\’d say most of our society isn\’t good at asking good questions. We all jump at the chance to talk about ourselves, but rarely want to actually sit and listen.

  4. In the last 3 years I have received maybe 2-3 letters from friends. But 100s of emails, FB messages, etc. I am guilty of not wanting to take the time to send a ‘real’ letter to someone because the other choices are easier and faster. I’ve grown addicted to the immediacy of technology – one push of a button and your done. You’ve given me something to think about Seth. Thanks

    P.S. Also it was very gracious of you to stop by and leave a comment on my blog.

    • I know that I have very few physical letters from friends. Instead I have inboxes full of Forwards and Facebook inbox full of messages. Perhaps we need to send more letters to get more letters?

  5. I would rather talk to someone via email, a text, or in person. I like email/text because they’re easy and I can edit what I say as much as I want, and I like in person because I find the nonverbal communication helpful. I’m not a fan of talking on the phone.

    Wow. Except for my Compassion kids, I don’t even remember the last time I got a letter. And I love getting personal mail! Maybe I’ll go write a letter to someone just to brighten up their day. Thanks for the idea! Who knew writing a letter would sound so revolutionary? =)

  6. Crazy how the cycle works. I love new technology, but every once in a while I pull out a pen and paper and try to write someone a note. Pretty funny that my hand cramps up after a paragraph of writing, but I can type all day 🙂

    I would agree that I don\’t get many letters (except from my compassion kids) and even once thought \”Wouldn\’t it be nice if they could email me my compassion letter?\” This post kicked my butt in the area of thought.

  7. As most people say, it depends. When I am on the field, I try to write a handwritten note/postcard to supporters to thank them. While here in the states, I tend to stick to electronic communication (typically blog/email.)

  8. I avoid using Facebook messaging as much as I can, I prefer to use email when I have to convey information. I always love a good phone conversation.

    And to further the point of communication, there are three main components:

    Words, Tone/inflection, and Non-verbal (Facial expression, body language)

    The way it breaks down is:

    7% – Words

    38% – Tone

    55% – Non-verbal

    Many of our current forms of communication only use words and leave out the most important parts of communication!

  9. “Telling my wife I love her via text is cute, writing her a letter is romantic.”

    I think that sums up the “medium is the message” argument right there! Great point!

  10. With my wife I always talk to her personally and because I do that so much she actually likes getting a love note from me on Facebook.

    With supporters it is 2 different ways. While here in Germany I send newsletters via mailchimp and while in the states I visit our supporters personally.

    I prefer to get my thoughts out on the screen because I can craft how I want to say my message. Being an introvert I don’t always have the most correct thoughts.

    • That\’s a good concept. Sometimes using a different medium allows us to connect deeper.

      I understand about getting thoughts flushed out on the screen. I prefer being able to delete things before broadcasting them. Sometimes in conversation I say what I think before I process how people will respond to it.