How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?
(I’d fix the punctuation if I could, folks)
Texting is a curse on our society. I despise it. I do it only when I have no choice: A friend texts me, I respond. I rarely initiate texts.
I don’t know what it is about our celll phones that has us so controlled by them. We obey them instantly, no matter who else we may be with or what else we may be doing. Usually, I put my phone on vibrate when I’m working. On the rare occasions when I forget, and a text or a call comes in, the client I’m talking with fully expects me to interrupt the session to answer my phone. I never do. Usually, I just reach over and switch it to silent mode, and continue my conversation.
One client challenged me on doing so. “Don’t you have to answer that?”
“No. No one who knows me contacts me when I’m working. I’ll pick it up later.”
“Well, I don’t mind–I mean, it could be important–“
“It never is. Relax. Now, where were we?”
So. The question is how I communicate differently online than in person. I don’t know, really. I think I write pretty much the same way I talk. I will admit to using emoticons, usually to make sure the recipient knows I’m teasing or making a joke. It is just as easy to misinterpret the written word as it is the spoken word.
One major difference is that I don’t spill all my personal angst and information online. I’ve been pretty transparent here, but there’s still a lot you all don’t know about me!
How do I communicate emotion in a purely written context? How did we do it when we wrote letters with pen and ink? Lots of beautiful love letters have been written down through the centuries. There are volumes of poetry and prose about all sorts of human emotions. We’ve never had trouble expressing these things in the written word before. Why is it difficult now?
I’ll answer that. It’s because we somehow feel less inhibited using social media. We leave all our filters somewhere else.
Anything we post online can be seen by anyone who feels like taking the trouble to hack into our stuff. It can be reposted, for instance, by a Facebook friend and therefore seen by a whole host of people we wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to see it.
I am not impressed when people write mooshy ooey gooey love notes to each other on their Facebook pages. Ew. Not for public consumption. It’s embarrassing. I’m glad you’re thrilled with your relationships, but come on. What I don’t understand is why people who may have trouble expressing personal stuff in the spoken word seem to be able to let it gush out all over cyberspace via Facebook, Twitter, and so on.
There are some things that just shouldn’t be said in public.
The internet is public.