Daily Prompt: How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

Communication online is a completely different ball game as compared to in person. In person communication is so much more interactive and dynamic. The process of communicating with someone face to face has so many layered nuances that each of us takes in subconsciously. And we use those nuances, again mostly subconsciously, to correspondingly frame our next sentence. You know, the other person’s body language, the other person’s voice, tone, volume, pauses, comfort level, the ambience around you, other people weaving in and out of the area, and thus, in and out of your conversation. So many things that subtly impact your communication. So many added layers, and yes, so many potential distractions as well; background sounds, the facebook/twitter updates sneaked in on the phone, the scanning of the background to search for other people. All these things colour up in person communication.

Now online, say on chat, or on any other purely written medium, so much of that ‘noise’ is filtered out. You get space, and time to think before you react. There are much less influences on your immediate and active thought train. How people use that noise free and sterile environment to react is upto each individual. I find it easier to be open, candid, more sharing,more accepting, less defensive when I am communicating online. The downside of communicating in a purely written medium is; all those nuances are lost. You don’t really know where the other person is coming from. You have a range of emoticons to use and slang /textspeak, which helps to bridge the gap, but really, that’s about it. Just the written word layered over with a veneer of smileys and abbreviations. Compare that to the 4, 5, 6 layers in personal communication, and you’ll find which style has more information, more metadata, more juice to get it going.

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