Talking To A Nobody

Posted: May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Since the invention of the electronic mail and instant messages, the various ways of communication have been better and more convenient in times past. Or has it?

Nothing says it faster than typing up some random message and having it sent to the person it was intended for in less than a few seconds. Its quicker, its faster, its “instant”.

So then why is there so many problems? It is because of the absence of a real person in the flesh that you are supposedly corresponding to. A person can be as insignificant as the next one when it comes to dealing with communication via the Internet. Or they can be as large as any moonlit sky in the night.

We should all know by now that “faster” does not necessarily mean “better”. Not in this case. The Internet has reached its way to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The opportunity for them to sit down, write an e-mail, and then be on their way again has opened the doors to what I call, “Fast Talking”.

But there is a huge problem. Almost to the point where I would dare to say that the Internet is flawed. The messages we are sending to one another doesn’t always carry its point across. It gets mixed up and then havoc appears. That one message that you just sent to carry on your conversation, just turned into the first bullet fired of World War III.

And all of this happened inadvertently. Have you figured out why yet?

It is because you are talking to “nobody”. Actually, you are talking to no body.

A few nights ago, I was reading a message thread that got really heated. Several people were involved, but”no body” was there. And I could see, as the outsider of all of this mess just how it came to be. And then in the middle of it all, I read this post (paraphrased):

Without anyone there, to show body language or voice inflection, a person’s ‘tone’ can come off totally different from that person’s intention, depending on how the other person receives it and reads it. It becomes particularly difficult especially if one person does not truly know the other in which they are engaging in conversation.”

Okay that is grossly paraphrased, but still the point gets made. And I honestly could not agree with the statement any more than I do!

For years, I had been struggling in communication with a friend. Whatever I would say, I would receive back the answer, “whatever”. To me, that was just about as mean and cruel as it could get. I felt as if whatever I was telling them was only falling upon deaf ears (or eyes in this matter).

But as time went by, I started to get to know them better and better. Eventually, I would find myself in the same position of actually talking to them, using our voices to communicate. And then, with inflection, I heard them say “whatever”. Suddenly, it did not seem so mean to me. I knew what they were intending on communicating and I did not take it as personal as I once had.

Amazing, isn’t it? Something as simple as a voice that is missing from a conversation can totally turn the tide in which the waves have been crashing. One simple component of a voice. That’s all it takes.

We have got to be careful what we say, and just how we say it on the Internet. I have actually reached a point to where if I am writing an e-mail, I will go back and look it over. Not only will I correct any typos or grammatical errors (if I catch them), I will read it to myself and see if it sounds how I had originally intended it to sound. If I find just the slightest doubt within myself that whatever I wrote may not come across the way I would like it, I edit the whole passage.

I’m not saying that is what you must do. I am saying that is what I do. And a lot of the times, it works out better. I do still get snagged from time to time because I am still learning more about the person with whom I am communicating with. Commonly it DOES matter whether or not you know the person and how much you know them. If you’re a smart ass like I am and you are constantly using humor to express yourself, well… your humor often may be missed and the next thing you know you are on running damage control, trying to save yourself and the conversation from collateral damage.

Does anyone remember what it was like WITHOUT the Internet? With each day that passes by, many of this younger generation has no clue what it was like to have to either sit down and write a letter and affix postage. It was either that, or you would have to pick up the telephone and dial that person. At least then, you had voice inflection.

Now with cell and mobile phones with the capabilities to chat, send e-mails, and everything else in between- a majority of us still get caught up in this tricky and delicate situation of either misreading or being misread.

Personally though, when it comes to communication, give me the telephone and I will dial someone that I want to talk to.

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