Back in the day, before cable, satellite, HD and giant screens, watching TV wasn’t the same experience. It was subject to poor picture quality, interference from outside signals, and frequent static all viewed on small screens and requiring an antenna to get decent reception even from a local TV station.

For as much as we’ve advanced in technology, consider the challenges we face today. Our cell phone calls are susceptible to dropped coverage and poor sound on PDAs with small screens (which we now love). We're limited on what we can see and communicate because of tiny, poorly rendered avatars and text character limitations.

While the static early TV viewers grew up with is a thing of the past, it has been replaced with new types of interference thwarting clear communication.

Just a few recent examples:

  • I met someone I’d been following on Twitter. This person’s avatar is a very full facial picture, making it appear he's a pretty big guy. He may have noticed my look of surprise when in person, he was actually very tiny, and I towered over him.
  • There was an opportunity to see a speaker I follow on Twitter in real life. While his narcissism is particularly obnoxious on Twitter, it was much less so in person. His relentless self-focus was still present, but in real life, it was more comical than it comes across online.
  • The other day someone thanked me for a retweet about leadership. Since he didn’t include the link in the message, and I’d tweeted several things on leadership, there was no context to effectively respond to his comment and start a dialogue.
  • Recently, someone I follow in California checked into Fousquare from a hospital at 4 a.m. Obviously, something serious must have been going on. Yet right above her tweet was a Foursquare announcement that she’d unlocked the “School Night” badge for checking in so “late” on a work night.

In each of these cases, modern day social media interference led to incomplete or difficult to discern "pictures" of others and their actions.

Sure, I love new technology that allows us to communicate and share information in novel ways. Just remember each of them still comes with its own unique static. - Mike Brown