Can you communicate as well as a fourth-grader?

One thing that I have learned from my time in Second Life is how much all of us have in common even though we all work in different professions. Sometimes I think it is because all the work that we do, no matter the field, is based upon communication. Whenever anything goes wrong at work, what is it that EVERYONE says? “We need better communication next time.” But does that ever happen? Do we ever really make an effort to improve communications?

Up to the launch of the Internet, the only means of communication in the business world had been though conversations or letter writing. So as we tried to improve communication back then did we talk more? Maybe at first but then eventually we slipped back into old habits – it was never convenient to communicate. We didn’t see people, or they were not there when we telephoned, or we just didn’t have time to write another letter. Or perhaps conversations between co-workers were frowned upon as a waste of time.

And this is why I think the move to Web 3.0, or whatever it is called these days, is so important. The Web has given us, and continues to give us, so many means of communication and has made it so easy for us to communicate with anyone anywhere that there should be no excuse anymore for a lack of communication. If you are not adequately communicating today, it is your own fault for not learning the available tools.

With all the blogs, vlogs, wikis, virtual spaces, text messaging, internet-based phone and radio, social networks, and Web sites, there is no excuse for not communicating. The scary part of all this is that those of us who are out of college are already behind on the use of these tools. Today, as I was following my new philosophy of learning how to do my job better by researching what others are doing in their fields, I came across a wonderful blog by a school teacher: From reading her blog and the links off of it, I realized, school kids have already figured this out!! Fourth-graders are blogging and setting up wikis and using all these tools as if they have been around for years.

So for anyone who might still be thinking that this is all going away, you may want to start looking into what is happening on the Web these days. Not only are these tools growing in use each day by those in business, kids in our schools are being taught how to use them as part of their normal classwork. And even though experience in a particular industry still carries some weight, remember, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t communicate at least as well as a fourth-grader.