We often hear people say that communication is the cornerstone of all good relationships.  I, too, happen to subscribe to that belief.  However, people oftentimes disagree on what qualifies as effective communication.

Once upon a time long, long ago, there was a world without the Internet.  The only way people could communicate with one another was through speaking directly to one another or by putting pen to paper.  They couldn't tweet or text or send an emoticon to express an idea, and therefore were unable to have abbreviated responses to situations or scenarios.  They were forced to formulate their ideas and opinions fully before expressing them; there was an art to the written and spoken word.  


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To be fair, social media does play a valuable and irreplaceable role within today’s society.  It has a place but should not replace how we communicate.  All too often I feel that people rely too heavily on technology for interaction in lieu of real conservation.  

For example, some very dear friends of mine were experiencing marital difficulties.  Like all married couples, they went through periods of frustration and forgot how to communicate effectively.  Almost everyone argues, especially married couples, but ultimately their goal is to find common ground and reach some sort of compromise.  In order to achieve compromise, both individuals have to be able to make their point as well as hear the counterargument from their spouse.  In my humble opinion, one can’t successfully do this with a series of texts.  Texting, however, is exactly what this couple was doing rather than speaking, even though they were still living in the same household.  How can one fully convey what is in their heart through a text?

This form of parallel communication has become the norm in the modern world.  We tweet, text, comment, and give a thumbs up or thumbs down on Facebook and feel as if we've accomplished something.  Having an argument via technology, however, is not truly engaging and should not be considered debating.  One can only do that when they speak face to face.  Regurgitating sound bites or cutting and pasting an article from a Facebook newsfeed is not formulating an original thought or even defending a position, and yet we are all guilty of doing this.  

We have to go back to the basics and remember how to communicate, argue, and debate.  We also need to do this without adding insults, and instead remember that we’re communicating with other real people.  It’s easy to insult someone when you can’t see them.  Technology removes us from one another and removes the intimacy.  Where there is no intimacy, it's easy to lack empathy.  Without empathy, compromise cannot exist.

Once we learn to communicate effectively on a smaller scale with a significant other, a friend, or a family member, we become armed with a proper set of skills, which allows us to engage in healthy conversation and debate with others.

Use technology and social media as a tool for your voice to be heard.


When I first decided to write about communication, I was simply going to focus on the difficulties and challenges we face within our own relationships.  Then, the inauguration happened, followed by several protests and the Women’s March.  I simply could not ignore our current political climate.  Social media was and still is buzzing with anger and hope.  Yet most arguments posted on social media were one-sided because,again, all one can do is post a comment or an emoticon. My advice to you, the reader, is this: Use technology and social media as a tool for your voice to be heard.  Do not use it in lieu of your voice as a mouthpiece, but rather as a platform.  If you want to effect change, gather, march, rally, and engage in healthy well-informed debate.  Communication truly is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships and therefore a healthy society.

With that being said, I will leave you with this parting thought, the same thing I used to tell my young students; 'Remember how to use your words.  Words matter.  Let me hear your voice and I will listen.'


April Leite is originally from Massachusetts, went to Barry University in Miami and received a BA in Communications.  She started her Masters at Fort Valley State in Education and finished at the University of Phoenix.  She has published two children’s books, has a novel coming out in the spring, currently owns and operates pupwalks.com and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two dogs. Learn more at apriljean.com.


Comments (4)

  1. Regine Boykin

I always wondered why it's easier for me to argue or "discuss" issues with my BF through text versus us talking in person. But you've reminded me it's so important for us to work things out verbally! Very insightful piece.

  1. Meagan Hooper    Regine Boykin

Well - when I'm in a heated discussion with my husband, I found writing a thoughtful email to him when I've calmed down helps me articulate my thoughts better. I think because it allows us to be objective or honest perhaps?

  1. Regine Boykin    Meagan Hooper

True. There's also less of a chance of one person butting in over another.

  1. Meagan Hooper

Such an important topic! Thanks April!!


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