The traditional face-to-face communication is the most commonly used mode of communication due to its formality and the advantages it offers to the communication process. Face-to-face communication presents the environment for mutual relationship between the parties involved in the communication process. However, Riby, Gwyneth, and Whittle dispute that face to face communication might cause a barrier to effective communication since the parties involved in the process might shy away from eye contact. This may occur for instance in case of upward communication in an organization. A junior staff might fear the eye contact of his supervisor, thereby leading to a barrier to effective communication.
According to Riby, Gwyneth, and Whittle’s assertion, face-to-face communication might only be effective in horizontal communication processes.
There have been technological advancements in the recent centuries that have both encouraged and discouraged face-to-face communication. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have weakened this traditional method o communication. On the other hand, Gothberg, June, et al concluded in their research study that the other means of communication have limitations over the former. They indicated that telephone, and Internet with video focus group communication present technical difficulties in communication thereby rendering face-to-face communication the most effective and efficient means of communication. Additionally, Francesco, et al also propose that despite the increase in the use of cell phones and other means of communication, face-to-face communication is usually very important since 70% of the people who make cell phone conversations make appointments for face-to-face communication. Their research also found out that 90% of the telephone conversations took place between neighboring parties, which implies that the advent of technology has replaced most of the face-to-face communications.
Riby, Deborah M, Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, and Lisa Whittle. "Face-To-Face Interference In Typical And Atypical Development." Developmental Science 15.2 (2012): 281-291. MEDLINE Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
This article proposes that looking at faces during communication is important for retrieving and subsequent processing of visual communication cues. It also proposes that looking away from faces is also important as faces increase cognitive load that might interfere with online processing. Holding eye contact during communication might lead to problems with altering the communication process since an individual might shy away from communication process.
Gothberg, June, et al. "Is The Medium Really The Message? A Comparison Of Face-To-Face, Telephone, And Internet Focus Group Venues." Journal Of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research 7.3 (2013): 108-127. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
While comparing different modes of communication such as face-to-face, telephone, and Internet with video focus groups, this research study concluded that the influence of multiple focus group moderators, technical difficulties in the electronic medium, and consequences of non-participant "visitors" or "guests" in the focus group venue make face-to-face communication the reliable means of communication.
Calabrese, Francesco, et al. "Interplay Between Telecommunications And Face-To- Face Interactions: A Study Using Mobile Phone Data." Plos ONE 6.7 (2011): 1-6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
While analyzing one year anonymous telecommunication data for more than one million customers from a cell phone operator, this research study investigated the relationship between call and the physical locations of the callers. This research study, however, found an interplay between telecommunication and face-to-face communication since most callers shared the same locations and made the calls prior to face-to-face meetings.