Ever find yourself wondering what we’d do without the Internet in our lives? We only have to wait for a power outage to find out. The moment we cannot boot up the computer we become bored and restless. Okay, even panicky. Granted, that doesn’t mean we spend all of our waking moments online. Some of us, myself included, just hop online for a few moments to see that’s going on in cyberspace. I often joke that if I didn’t see it on Facebook it didn’t happen. But seriously, for most of us, there is life beyond cyberspace.
We’ve entered into a whole new realm of communicating and there is no going back. We correspond through email, twitter, and our blogs. We get to *know* many people whom we would not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet– –people from other countries, other provinces, other states—-without leaving the comforts of our own homes. How truly amazing!
However, it makes me wonder if we are not becoming a society that it totally dependent upon electronic communications.
This post reminds of that little joke that went something like this.
Q: Whatever happened to the art of conversation?
A: I don’t know. No one ever talks about it anymore.
But we are *talking* you might argue, we’re just not doing it face to face.
You have to admit in some ways the Internet has made it much simpler for us to express ourselves, and self-expression is very important. But, have you ever found yourself sharing some bit of information online only to realize that it’s not necessarily something you would have dared to share with your friends and family in the *real* world? Perhaps you’ve read a friend’s FB status and cringed because it just felt like “too much information.”
How brave it can makes us feel when we simply have to hit a button and send our words on their way. There’s no one standing there to make us accountable. We don’t have to see the hurt feeling we’ve caused. Nor do we get to experience the joy and delight our words might have brought.
But communication is more than just words.
Communication is not just a group of words all strung together. It is as much a part of speaking the words as it is listening. We pick up on the tones and rhythms in each other’s voices as we speak. We watch for that gleam in eye or look of amusement, anger or even confusion. By watching and listening we pick up on each other’s emotions on a non-verbal level, and it puts us in a better place of understanding what is really being said.
I sometimes find it more challenging to communicate online. I sometimes wonder if the meaning behind my words is fully grasped. Who out there has sent a message, written a blog post, or tweeted something, then wondered if their words might have been misunderstood because you couldn’t communicate the tone in which the remark was intended? I know I certainly have. And how many of us have been on the other end of that, wondering just what was meant by a certain comment. Was it truly said in jest? Were their snotty undertones? Was the entire meaning lost along the way?
A friend once admitted to me that she’s made snotty comments, and then hid behind that little smiley face at then end. Be honest, sometimes it is tempting. Isn’t it?
Although I am grateful for this wonderful means of communicating online, and certainly wouldn’t want to abandon it, I still feel a need to communicate face to face, or by telephone, from time to time. I need to hear the laughter in someone’s voice and be able to tell at a glance just what their day’s been like.I need to see their face light up.. But that’s just me.
So how about you, do you prefer communicating online rather than in person? And does being online give you the courage to fully express yourself in ways you never dreamed you would?