Communication is the transfer of information. We receive communication through human beings, technology, or technology as a medium for human beings. All three leave great potential for interpretation - which is the fourth means of communication, how you communicate internally.
Sometimes it seems we have gone out of our way to increase the amount communication and greatly limit the amount of information being transferred. Sound bites, talking points, slogans, stay on message, etc. These are all elements of a culture that values content over quality.
PR people will obviously argue with this and say that the point is to increase quality by filtering out extraneous information - delivering only the gold nugget of the point trying to be made. But communication is ideally an exchange through which ideas are refined. Talking points do not respect the listener, they are edicts. They are canon.
We are excellent at crafting barriers to human interaction and communication. In the quest for legal defensibility or impartiality - with the best of intentions - we build systems that impede communication by design.
Several years ago, I had a project on the Nogales Sonora / Nogales Arizona border. Nogales is a city that gives new meaning to the word gritty. What I learned there could fill a hundred blog posts. For the study of bureaucracy, the border crossing there was my yogi on a mountain.
But I learned two important things there: (1) imposed rulesets define human interaction and (2) communication misused destroys trust.
Blogged at my house in Seattle with Live Writer