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The Importance of Communication and the Shortcomings of Technology Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jay-R Patron, Philippines Feb 1, 2007
Technology , Culture , Media   Opinions
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When I was a student at university, I used to dwell upon a two-tiered view of communication. As a journalism student, I was a proponent of effective communication—that every word must be and should be conveyed in its true and factual sense in a form that is easily understood. To do this, one needed to learn a structure based on brevity and conciseness, favoring immediacy and the ability to put the message across in its simplest form. More importantly in journalism, the underlying feature of communication is objectivity.

On the other hand, I was also a Communication and Media Studies student, where I learned the different theories of communication—how it is used, through the media, to shape the minds of the greater population. The course expresses a contextual approach to communication, that every text should be read differently depending on the overall situation of the 5W’s and 1H. On a lesser extent, through this, I surmised that no matter what mode or medium, communication would suffice as long as the message was put across and understood by the receiver, regardless of its efficacy.

Now that I’m no longer a student, I don’t think about these kinds of issues anymore.

But I vouch for the importance of communication in building and maintaining relationships… although, come to think of it, there seems to be no other way to build and maintain relationships. Last Saturday, my older brother hosted a party for his office mates at our place. I invited a long-time friend to come, and I would not have done so if we did not bump in to her that Wednesday prior. It was a great night of scrumptious dishes (courtesy of my mom), thirst-quenching drinks, and of course, what’s a party without the alcohol. Relentless video-oke performances and card games entertained everyone that night. The gathering was not the best we’ve ever had at home, but it was still fun and exciting.

My friend decided to stay when all the other guests had gone home passed midnight. The two-man clean-up committee, headed by my brother and sister, was busy packing up while she and I were at the living room having a conversation. Moments later my two older siblings joined us, six seconds later they retreated to their respective rooms. And we were there… alone again.

I knew she wanted to talk, but she didn’t know how to start. I mean why would she stay instead of calling it a night and go home? Initially, we talked about the how things have been in the last six years. We lost contact with each other when we reached college, although we bump onto one another from time to time, and there was text messaging which established the vicarious presence. That night was the first time since senior high school that we had that level of exchange of words. Ultimately, I was able to get it out of her. She was anxious, didn’t know where to go. She was stuck in a quagmire with law school as the main culprit for this conundrum. She felt that it was getting on the way of what she really wanted to do with her life. I told her it was her choice in the first place and that it would be such a waste to back down now that she was in her second year. Besides, she would be able to help more people if she had a law degree than if she decided to step down now and pursue her philanthropic endeavors… something in line with the concept of leverage that Evan and the other guests talk about.

The conversation shifted from serious to the more trivial through the hours. The topics touched everything from friends, current hobbies, future plans etc. Eventually, what would seem like an issue that many would avoid was tackled… we talked about ‘us’… at least our past. I met her in 1997 when the family was on a vacation back here in the Philippines, my dad was based in Hong Kong then and we lived with him there, except my older bro who was in college that time. She was a good friend of my brother’s girlfriend then. I got to know her better over time. We exchanged emails from time to time when I was in HK. The family went back to the PI in 1999; I was in senior high. Our close proximity and endless supply of common friends paved way for a strong bond. She and I became really close. I was truly comfortable with our friendship but deep inside I knew I wanted to be ‘steady’ with her… in a way I was pursuing her, yet I know I was at the losing end. She taught me a lot of things from being less uptight to dealing with strict parents.

I knew I had to do something about my way towards her. The imminent end of high school, I thought, would also be the end of our tight connection. One day, I proposed to her about being steady… through text message. That was the lamest of lame that a guy could ever do to a girl he liked. Only last Saturday did I know that she felt frustrated about that action of mine… she felt “cheap”, based on her own words. But we were laughing about how pathetic and childish that was, yet deep inside I felt sorry for myself—I thought, “What if I had not done that? Would there have been a chance that the two of us become one?”

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Writer Profile
Jay-R Patron

Jay-R Patron, 24 years old, currently works as content provider for a multinational IT consultancy firm, under its interactive marketing department.

He was a writer for Hawaii-based Greater Good Inc., a media company behind the much-acclaimed Greater Good Radio. The show promotes social entrepreneurship and servant leadership.

Jay-r is a Journalism and Communication and Media Studies graduate from the University of Southern Queensland.
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