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.


thepianoplayersdaughter said...

Ive often thougt about this too. Sometimes being a bit too quick. It all comes down to being mindefull.But I still prefer online communicating as I love writing.Thanks for viewing my site. Do comment

Susannah said...

Thanks for your comment. I really enjoyed your writing on your blog, I shall visit again.

Oriana said...

"So is your online 'style' an accurate representation of your personality? do you want it to be? or does the 'mask' that the medium allows help in communication?" I, too, have worked at this, & I also rely on imagery to add emotion to my writing. For me, it has boiled down to trying very hard for clarity, since it's so easy to misconstrue something online. My feelings have been hurt by people who were just teasing me, but as I couldn't hear or see them, I took what they wrote to be sincere. I am quite serious much of the time, so perhaps that is easier to portray online. To display a lighter side I may use a photo with a Tweet. For example, instead of doing the #followfriday thing, I offer a pic of ducks following their mom or geese in formation. Humor is tricky tho--there is such a range of what people find funny. What an excellent topic for exploration!

Saif said...

i find it quite easier communicating online. the real "me" comes out pretty well, when i'm talking with someone online.
i'm basically a shy person and at times i can feel a bit of discomfort during a face to face communication. of course i make the necessary adjustments but i can express myself in a better while being online or by written communication.
i would also say that online communication has helped me to quite an extent to come out of my shell. i got to know some really nice people due to online communication and had it not been the internet i would have never been able to know such people.

Susannah said...

Saif, I like what you say about being a basically shy person and being able to communicate the "real you" when talking online. I can see that is a real positive and could really help develop confidence in ommunication.

Also the fact we get to meet and talk to people we would never meet in our everyday lives. Both really good points.

Thanks for adding to the thoughts on this subject and I am glad you came by :-)


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