March 5, 2006

Asynchronous Communication has caused us some problems this week…

Filed under: Web 2.0 — Administrator @ 1:35 pm

As far as weeks go, this past week was definitely challenging – riddled with conflicts and misunderstandings across the board. In hindsight, we can sort of make out where we stumbled – the question is, how do we prevent this from happening in the future?

Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, in China, the importance of face/self-worth/ego are paramount – more so in the major cities, such as Shanghai, were people (both Chinese and Westerners) tend to take themselves more seriously (i.e. “…I’m educated, and thus you must respect me…”). We understand this very well but it isn’t enough to simply understand how the game is played you’ve gotta practice it 24/7 – truth be told, it gets exhausting.

One solution we are thinking about is phasing out our “asynchronous communication”, or rather:

…communication that does not require that all parties involved in the communication need to be present and available at the same time. Examples of this include e-mail, discussion boards, which allow conversations to evolve and community to develop over a period of time, and text messaging over cell phones.

And, replacing asynchronous communication with “synchronous communication”, or rather:

…communication where all parties involved in the communication are present at the same time (an event) is a form of direct communication. Examples include a telephone conversation, a company board meeting, a chat room event and instant messaging.

True, this seems a bit extreme (and perhaps not very practical in this day and age), but there is some merit to it – should a conflict arise during the “synchronous” conversation all the parties involve can stop, circle back, resolve the conflict, and hopefully move on rather than stew on something for x number of hours (as is the case with “asynchronous” conversation).

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