Did your history text teach you about ancient communications through rock carvings and tablet paintings? Have you heard of tales from your grandfather about how he used to communicate during his days? If not these, you definitely would’ve heard your parents talk about how the communication was, during their adolescent days. However, long gone are those days of carrier pigeons and telegraphs. In the by-gone era, it took days to converse and communicate. But today, conveyance of a message is a matter of but a single click. In this digitalized world of ours, where gadgets are smarter than people, emails and messages are the dictators. The virtual life is becoming comfortable by the day. Not just metaphorically, but literally too. The ‘auto-correct’ and ‘auto-complete’ features do not only aid our typing, but also indicate and in a way command as to what to type, irrespective of whether that expression fits well in the context.
So far, so good. But are our chats conveying our raw and genuine emotions? Is it correct to discuss important issues over messages? Does the use of emoticons do justice to the feelings of the sender? Is the lingo that we use, having the right interpretation by the receiver? Is the meaning of the emojis, on various social media, alike for all?
Well, these are highly debatable. When the recipient knows you in and out, whatever you have conveyed, transmits exactly as it is supposed to. But I doubt anyone, including me, has anybody who transcripts the messages as it is put across, always.
Messaging and emailing have made our lives a lot easier, agreed, but they cannot ever replace the authenticity of interpersonal interactions. We often think that others are more in synch with what we’re thinking, than they really are. Here are some ways in which we have come to be at disadvantage because of using messages, instead of face-to-face interactions.:
- It’s harder to put ourselves in other people’s shoes when we can’t see those shoes. We, being on the other side of our gadgets, don’t really know what the other person is feeling at that moment. Their state of mind, the intensity of their thoughts, whether they are revealing their true emotions, et al., are always a matter of uncertainty. This makes conveying of important messages prone to misconceptions.
- Have you ever texted in a haste? I’m sure you might have. But did you ever ask the person you texted, what they interpreted of that message? Well if you have, you might be familiar with a curt message being interpreted as an angry one, instead of it simply being written in a hurry. You never know, you too might have been a victim to such a situation.
- Have you ever received a text message in all capital letters and wondered why is that person screaming at you? Or have you received messages with a period after each statement, and felt like the person does not want to chat with you? If you have, then it’s just another sign of you being fooled by this ‘text-messaging age’. In this world of billions of people, each one prefers a different pattern of chatting. And thus, what might seem an informal way of texting to you, might be too formal for the receiver.
- Virtual messages have made life easier even in terms of anonymity. Using anonymity as a means to say things you wouldn’t say otherwise, isn’t new. I hope now you’re able to decode as to why people lash out on social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. This way, they do not have to take the pains of open-letters and definitely not of tête-à-têtes, and thus stay under the hood, all while voicing their opinions.
- Usage of emoticons is a part and parcel of our lives. But hey! Are we using them in the right manner? Is the meaning that we’ve given to each one of them, universal? Think about that buddy! Interpretations of emojis have been considered the most controversial and talked upon issue when it comes to correctly interpreting messages and emotions of the sender.
- Every individual has a texting style of his own. The recipient close to that individual might understand this lingo, however, sometimes deciphering the meaning becomes difficult, irrespective. One cannot always know if a one-word statement of acknowledgement – like “Okay” – means just that or something more. Moreover, since the nonverbals like tone of voice, facial expressions, note, etc. aren’t known, faulty interpretations can become the bread and butter of communication.
- Yet another difficulty that we all might have encountered is affiliated with the intrinsic nature of this form of communication. Chatting is often associated with immediate replies. In a situation otherwise, especially during crucial conversations, chances are bright for the opponent to have various misconstrued thoughts for receiving delayed responses.
- Faulty perceptions are rife when the sender isn’t aware of the ‘chat-lingo’ and thus cannot use the abbreviations and phrases accurately. It can happen even when the punctuations, and other grammatical elements are vague and confusing. Think of this- Usage of an exclamation mark in a text message (“I didn’t know that!”) displays which emotion? That of anger, surprise, sarcasm or excitement? You might not even know it because you didn’t see that wink on the sender’s face while the message was being drafted.
- The biggest difficulty in rightful understanding comes with the use of short forms. When ‘u type lyk dis’ the receiver is definitely in for a tough time deducing the meaning. Even ‘gr8 msgs’ get undermined this way. Not just these, but the language on paper too gets affected, which can cost the kids their grades.
Now that we’re abreast with some of the glitches of chatting, whom should we blame for the fallacy in perception? No- one! It is the inevitable part of human nature which we have to deal with. The maximum that we can do is to be aware and to always remember that chatting cannot be replaced by or even remotely be compared to one-on-one interactions. To have a veritable communication, verbal, along with nonverbals, are necessary. So, when it is something pivotal, don’t even think of texting. Head straight to that person’s house and enjoy the momentous conversation.