Thoughts on 'Virtual' Communication

Online communication - the problems and benefits.
Lately I have been thinking about communication, specifically about how we communicate online.

Here in cyberspace we have to operate without all of the normal visual cues that we are able to pick up on when we speak face to face. If we are to be able to communicate effectively, then a change in our normal communication method may be needed.

It also teaches us more about our 'regular' communication style which is usually a pretty automatic thing. I have realised that in normal face to face communication, humour and smiles go a long way in making up my persona, and as in cyberspace people can't see my facial expressions! I need to allow for that.

"The ability to express an idea is well nigh as important as the idea itself." - Bernard M Baruch

I find that I have to think more carefully about my words, as something said with a grin and a twinkle in the eye seems to automatically change meaning when just words on a page. The words 'literal' meanings seem to jump out at you and it is easier to read subtext into something that was a throwaway comment.

Perhaps that is something to be explored, just how much visuals have to do with communication. I feel it is a different art - this process of learning how to communicate in a written sense without my normal bolster of smiles and delivery.

It is a learning experience (isn't everything!) and it has made something once quite 'unconscious' become more conscious. In a way, it can help communication to be more deliberate and thought about, as you can rewrite, something that isn't possible with speech. Though that also takes away some of the spontanaity and flow.

"Communication is not only the essence of being human, but also a vital property of life." - John A Piece

I think that as more and more communication takes place with an interface between us and others, as in texting, emailing, blogging, twittering etc. it is going to call for an evolution in our thinking about true communication.

So is your online style an accurate representation of your personality? or does the 'mask' that the medium allows, help in communication? Do you find it easy to communicate online? or has it caused you problems? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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