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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Textual conversations(A sister post)

Though I'm giving this posts it's own page space. It's really a sister post to my previous post on randomness. But since I have another post coming up in line with this one, you get the picture..I can't have triplets.

 Part one of: Text communication; terrific, or trouble in text?

As I write this blog post I'll be blatant. I have no degree, no professional occupation in relation to this topic. I only have my own perception of my surroundings. Right now I deal largely with online conversations. Something that on the whole I feel I'm reasonably adept at holding. My online conversations skills have lent themselves to these basic principles.

The real life intonation supplanted with smilies( :)--;)--:(--:S---:P--etc.).The hand and body motions replaced with: "*stomps*", "*Runs outside and checks temperature.*", "*Shakes fist at the cold*" asterisks comments. Even common politeness is increased with the fact you don't actually have to be interested to type out, "How was your day? How are you doing. How did school go?"

All, of course, with varying levels of grammar and very usage ;) (See, there I did it again with the smilies.)In fact! With all these substitutive options you'd think online and textual conversations would be as rich as real ones. Maybe even more so with all these demonstrative expressions! I'm here to say--it's not. Nothing can replace the real life face time with people.

I used to scoff(albeit carefully) when my dad said to call someone rather than email, and to talk to them face to face rather than call. It's a hassle, they might be busy, it might be awkward, I might not, dare I say it? Enjoy it. Email is much more of a conversation buffer.That's a good thing, right?

Well you know what? He was right. At least for now, textual conversations can in no way shape or form replace real interaction face to face. You can measure a man quickly when you meet him face to face. You can't measure him at all(for sure) when it's text based. There is even something powerful about being able to sell yourself as a person when you talk to someone. To convey the needed attributes for a position you are applying for(In job situations). To show how you carry yourself in a variety of situations. In a nutshell: To show the essence of--you.

Gina Rubel, head of Furia Rubel Communications believes that interpersonal communications is a must. Listed below are some examples that both she and I believe, illustrate that face to face conversation time is not at an end. And that textual communication goes toe to toe with face to face communication and loses. Badly.

  • Employee interviews. Yearly meetings. Organization planning and goal setting meetings.
  • High importance business deals. (This will allow you to do more than sell yourself or your product, but it can alert you to potential pit falls.)
  • Interaction with your client in jobs such as: Law positions, Accountanting, Human Resources department, etc. Not all the time is the client provider relationship built face to face, but those meetings are the pillars of the relationship with online and other methods of interaction filling the in-between times.

And you wanna know something else? I was right as well--in a way.  

Email is much more of a conversation buffer.

You can casually send a harsh email without meaning it. A disrespectful email and still be clueless as to why the person is now mad at you. And far too easily send an email that conveys thoughts that you really weren't trying to propagate. But the wonders of text communication and the needed extrapolation that is required on the receiving end of the message, have thwarted us again. I participate in a pro-life fundraiser each year for a local organization. They now have online donation facilities, and this last year email was a big push, even from the organization. Less work, more people contacted faster, easier for donations. All these things were touted--But what they didn't say was it was a beautiful play of the human factor. No awkward phone call. No having to leave your arm chair--or in this case, no having to exit your browser to gain donations.  It made it so much....cleaner, sterilized--bland.

Send out your request for donation in email, and be well on your way to being completely done with your part in fund raising in thirty minutes of checking off email send recipients. I know peers that went with the email route. Sent out large amounts of emails. I also personally know people who chose to give me as apposed to someone who emailed because I talked to them either voice to voice on the phone, or even better, face to face. Email can't match interaction in person, not yet anyway. When I talked to people face to face about this opportunity to help the unborn, my success rate was exponential to email--even substantially larger than phone. People don't want a sterile email, they don't want the no-contact that the culture subconsciously and even perhaps unwittingly as a whole pushes with social medias now, people want face to face. My example is only one of many I could have used but it made an impression on this competitive kid ;)

Now something I'd like to point out here before I end this article and prepare for the next one. My examples are dealing with an older working group of people. My control group  I sourced was not teens. As a whole I believe teens will disagree with my message more. We grew up with email being standard, and for many, txtng bing the wy of lif. (Yes I know that was a shameless example of texting.) Face to face means less to us on the whole, some of us might even rather deal with non-face to face interaction. For one, I don't feel that's a healthy way to live. But more than that, what parts of life could you be missing living that way?

In the second--and last---installment in this series on conversations, I'll address why I believe text based communication is actually harming conversational skills and relationships. But it's not all lost ;) There are things you can do to protect relationships and your communication skills.

Article source for Gina Rubel comments from where I drew from here.


Jake said...

Hmmm. Personally...I find email useful for knowing people. It's a lot harder, however, to KNOW someone over a forum, over an email, over a chat. It just doesn't work out. Emotion is hard to express with mere words...one reason I'm a writer, I suppose.

But...the thing is, the Elves are amazing. Real people. (Well, the older ones, at least. For all I know these newbies could be advanced robots.)

And I know them only from the Underground.

But I agree to an extent. The thing is...in real life, I don't know people like the Elves. Passionate for God and writing...and Christian spec. fiction. Of all the 90,000 people that live in my town, I suspect that I am the sole Christian Fantasy writer who reads books like Radical. While I may be wrong...the most likely place to meet someone like that would be at a church. And as far as I know, there are a total of 0 writers in the church I go to at all, much less Christian spec. fiction writers.

It's kind of depressing.

So I talk to people...over the Underground. Over email. It's really the only way I can communicate with ye ('cause as far as I know, I may never go to Oregon as long as my life lasts). My best bet for meeting people with similar interests (aka the Elves) is the Tribe party.

So I've gone off on a tangent. :P Sorry. But yes...online conversations and emails tend to be bland. They tend to be non-emotional.

As for me...I would love to meet the Elves in real life. I would love to meet with anyone I tend to email or talk to them, instead of emailing. But I cannot. Skype...on occasion. Phone? Costs too much money on mine. So I must rely on text only conversations.

Btw, I'm really enjoying these posts. Thought provoking. ;) Keep 'em up, Mil. We need this sort of stuff.

Jake said...

By the way...this comment is so I can receive emails for the comment thread. Somehow it strikes me as ironic.

Anonymous said...

That was pretty thought-provoking, and something I've actually thought a lot about in the past.
See with me, most of my friends (real-life and online/phone/pen-pals) were made over blogging or facebook or some such thing (Don't worry, I play it safe).
Plus, I'm a writer. It's much easier to say something (for good or for harm) over e-mail or chat or texting (I don't text - no phone! Ha!) - and especially say something that comes across in a way you didn't mean it to.
Now, I'm not averse at ALL to email, texting, chatting, etc.
But I totally agree - a letter is much more fun than an email, a phone call more fun than a letter, and a face-to-face talk more fun than a phone call!
~ Ëarwen/Mirriam

Millardthemk said...


Love the well thought out comments--both of you!! Great stuff you've brought up. Let's see if we can get even more commenters, then the opinions should fly! :)

Thank you!