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Canvy modern communications tech

How can I improve my communication skills – a recurring question that says a lot

There is a recurring type of question on forums, which are one of the information sources when working for a communications/productivity app. In various ways, people ask and discuss about the effect modern communications have on humanity, on society, on the people’s ability to meaningfully interact. They also ask for advice on improving their interpersonal skills and their communication.

Now, although the question is inoffensive, the answers to it might be stingy for some tech enthusiasts. We won’t go there. Suffice to say, as we did in previous posts, that when you are in control of your communication channel and devices, instead of them controlling you and your time – you should be OK.


Is silence a thing of the past? How about peace of mind?


When was the last time you experienced silence at home? As in you (or you and your friends/family members) communicating in a noise-free environment. No background music, TV, desktop, laptop, no phones ringing, nobody shouting from a screen, while being on the other side of the globe… That kind of thing.

This tech noise is so viral that it became addictive – and we take it for granted. A piece of music here, a video there, someone sharing this and that through various channels… We seem to be continually exposed to this stream of content. We communicate in a totally different way than we used to. We are developing new abilities or skills. But are we losing the old ones?

As mentioned above, when were you last aware of a moment of silence? Did you enjoy it or did it feel weird, or even unsettling? Consider how meditation is described – and note that the continuous stream of data that we live in, if not controlled, is the opposite environment to the one needed for meditation.


Caught between taking advantage of great technology and protecting our private lives


While communication companies urge users to ask themselves whether they are “taking advantage of this greater level of choice”, some develop apps that include ways of protecting our private lives. More recent studies acknowledge certain uncertain effects of the increased technology usage over the human brain. Even our development may be influenced, depending on when (at what age) the unlimited tech access managed to convince us to go over a certain limit.

You may find out just how huge a part of the users’ life modern communicative platforms became, for example, from this study. The most time-consuming platforms rank in accordance with the users’ geolocation, so if you are from another part of the world they won’t fit. But each region has its own favorites, when it comes to communication channels, which are all ruled by global hubs such as Facebook, WhattsApp or Skype.

Just to be clear, by protecting our private lives, we don’t mean (this time) the data protection side. No, it’s simply about leaving room for personal, face-to-face communication. Putting a screen between and the others does not count – regardless of whether we communicate through it or we merely stare at it while addressing real people by our side.

We’ll close with a suggestion that could provide more insight on this week’s topic – this article.


Canvy smartphones cognitive abilities management addictive

Why managing our phones now means not having to part with it later

In high school, we had a teacher who once almost had a nervous breakdown in class. The reason consisted of the fact that we did not pay attention, at all, to what she was saying. In her own words, not paying attention was worse that misbehaving or being noisy. While we weren’t disturbing the class, she noticed that our minds kept being elsewhere, on a regular basis.

I don’t remember what our preoccupation was back then, but today, we would surely be thinking of something related to our phones – a message, a photo, the latest updates from one of our contacts or the videogame we like with those virtual chores that we must perform at regular times.


Smartphones finally get accurate studies…

…in what their desensitization effect is concerned, that is. While extremely profitable for the tech producers, as well as for the marketers and the commercial entities that found a new way of reaching out to customers whenever, wherever, their effect on people’s cognitive abilities is bad, apparently.

Since profitability is the key factor that drives competent studies, we may well assume a few things. First, the situation is serious and thoroughly researched. Secondly, the degree it affects budgets must be high. Weighing the pros and cons resulting from this situation, the tech industry took the preliminary steps. Educating smartphone users would be the first step. The message comes through pretty clear – mind the way you use your phones.

Not managing our smartphones properly means not being in control. This in turn pairs up with being less attentive, less intelligent and less productive.


Do we have to actually be on the phone for it to affect us?

As this article from HBR that prompted this topic shows, people don’t actually have to use their phone actively to perform less in cognitive activities.

The strength of the connection people have with their phones is the factor that makes the difference. Those who have developed a dependency are affected even by the presence of their phones in the pocket.

This does not make smartphones evil – it simply draws the attention to a fact that we need to take into considerations. Our phones have become points of attraction, and their lure is stronger when unacknowledged. Once realizing that we have a problem, it’s up to us to find solutions.

Depending on just how serious this issue is – in numbers and metrics – we can expect to see other warnings, or even future public campaigns teaching people how to put their phones away, when needing to focus.


Entrepreneur also based a feature on the study backing up the HBR article.