Which Is Better, Face to Face or Facebook Communication?
In the digital world of social media, face-to-face (FTF) communication seems to be losing its prevalence, especially among the Millennial generation. Since Facebook now has two billion monthly users, it has become the leading messaging application worldwide. Some people, however, are concerned of the disadvantages of communicating solely or mostly through social media. To be clear, both communication channels have situations that warrant their use. Face-to-face communication is better for conditions requiring trust-building, immediate feedback, and complex messages requiring proper body language, while Facebook messaging would suffice for efficient and direct communication settings.
Face-to-face communication is essential for settings that demand trust, instant feedback, and complex interactions. If a person seeks to establish trust, such as in business situations, face-to-face encounters would be recommended. To convince someone of trustworthiness, it may be necessary to see the person firsthand and observe how he/she talks and acts. Trust would be harder to gain through Facebook messaging where “catfishes” abound. A catfish is someone with a fake online persona. Talk to a person face to face if trust must be attained. Furthermore, FTF communication is applicable when expecting instant feedback. Time delays exist with Facebook messaging as no one is online 24/7. If feedback must be absolutely received without waiting, talking to the person face to face is better. A good example is an emergency situation where waiting must be avoided and communication must be direct. Finally, FTF is the best during complex interactions requiring non-verbal language. For instance, if a person will be disclosing sensitive information, FTF will help express this more fully. Resolving conflicts can be better done with body language that can help avoid miscommunication. Make sure to remain pacified and use neutral language that aims to empathize with the other party. FTF communication is warranted during these certain intimate, challenging, and conflict-ridden situations.
If the goal is to send simple greetings and informational messages, Facebook messaging would be an efficient manner of communication. Saying good morning or checking on the other person regularly does not require FTF communication. Additionally, if a person wants to send information about topics or event, a one-to-many messaging application is acceptable. A group chat in Facebook will allow a single user to send the same general message to target individuals. Facebook message is recommended when direct information or ideas are to be shared.
Whether the person wants to send communication face to face or through social media, the rule of thumb is to craft each message according to goals and audience characteristics. First, be clear of what you want to achieve with the message. Second, think of the recipient of the message. What are the characteristics of the receiver that will affect the understanding and reaction to the message? Will the other party be resistant to the message? If yes, what is the best way of communicating the information to achieve openness, trust, and compliance? Clearly, whatever the communication channel is, always write messages in connection to the communication goals and audience to achieve effective and efficient communication.
Social media is not a deterrent to successful communication as it has its own proper uses. However, use FTF as required by certain conditions that are complex or confidential, especially when immediate feedback or response is needed and body language is essential to get the message across. Fundamentally, effective communication relies on diverse factors apart from communication channels as it demands responsiveness to communication goals and audience characteristics as well. Thus, for good communication, think about the goals first before communicating and respond to the recipient empathically and clearly all the time.