In competition (male) style communication the person who talks the longest and the loudest “wins”. Topics shift more frequently as speakers try to move conversation to their area of expertise/comfort, so that they can talk more, and thus “win”.
In connection (female) style communication the speaker “wins” by deepening connections with others. People tend to stay on topic longer in order to explore those connections and will pass the mic around/ask questions.
If you’ve ever done any teaching/speaking/group leading/camp counsellor-ing, you’ve probably used both styles, competition when you need to get everyone’s attention and connection when you’re leading.
The Library of Congress has Alexander Graham Bell’s family papers in their collections. Among the thousands of pieces in the archive are Bell’s journals, containing sketches and details from the earliest telephone prototypes. The diagram above indicates that using the telephone should be a far more epic experience. The Atlantic has a selection of some of the weirder sketches in the notebooks.
I once had occasion to observe that technology now advances crabwise, i.e. backwards. A century after the wireless telegraph revolutionised communications, the Internet has re-established a telegraph that runs on (telephone) wires. (Analog) video cassettes enabled film buffs to peruse a movie frame by frame, by fast-forwarding and rewinding to lay bare all the secrets of the editing process, but (digital) CDs now only allow us quantum leaps from one chapter to another. High-speed trains take us from Rome to Milan in three hours, but flying there, if you include transfers to and from the airports, takes three and a half hours. So it wouldnâ€™t be extraordinary if politics and communications technologies were to revert to the horse-drawn carriage.
An interesting analogy. Political communications probably won’t slide back to horses, but sneakernets are looking good.
In 1913, Wolfgang Riepl, chief editor and a Nuremburg daily, made this statement in his dissertation concerning ancient modes of news communications.
New, further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place in their field, leading to a different way and field of use for these older forms.
The old doesn’t necessarily die out. In some instances, the old methods are absorbed or recycled into a new form. In others cases, those methods are refined and distilled down to their essence.
Letters from Beckett. Records of interpersonal communication will likely get lost in the swell of the digital world, it’s a shame.