The danger of synchronicity in social media

Synchronous communication requires an equal time and attention commitment from each party. In contrast, social media typically relies on the convenience and flexibility of asynchronous communication. That is, it allows parties to communicate even when they are not online at the same time. The flexibility ensures ease of use of the tool. The communicator can post whenever and the recipient can pick up the message when it suits. Email is a good example of this. This mode of communication is efficient for both sides because it takes little time to "drop off" or "pick up" a message when you don't need to think about the overhead of synchronous communication—thinking about the other person, waiting for them to respond, thinking about your response, and so on. Recently, however, I have seen an increase in the synchronicity of social media. Twitter and Facebook now seem to demand, and receive, constant attention. Status updates get replies in real-time. Tweets are answered in seconds. This indicates that these media have become synchronous: the parties are in communication at the same time. And, in so doing, these media are losing their efficiency. As they lose their efficiency, they become more like work. That is, they demand more and more time from participants. And as this happens, we can expect the use of social media in the workplace to come under increased scrutiny, especially in this economy. We have to be careful when considering why is it communication that we call social that we don't relax in what's on synchronist communication. Synchronist communication apparently risky because they have--require much higher commitment from both parties. Instead, be sure to focus also on a synchronist communication, in fact we're underestimating the importance and the role of the e-mail.