Saturday, October 08, 2011

virtual reality

while this phenomenon is nothing new, it's something i've been seeing again recently in my life.

something happens when you're talking with someone "online."  the effect happens just the same through texting, but i've been noticing this through more old-fashioned modes such as instant messaging and e-mail: it's so much easier to talk with someone online than in real life.
in three very different situations, i've found myself talking closely with people that, in real life, i don't talk with, wouldn't talk with, or can't with.
and it's not me.  i'd be just as comfortable talking face to face as through a keyboard.  
it's them.  these introverted or gruff people have been the ones who have been much more conversant than i would ever expected.

why is it?  is it just easier to write than to talk?  does it remove a lot of the social cues and nuances of personal communication, allowing us to fill in those gaps as we'd like to imagine the person, even though we may know them rather well, just smoothing over minor imperfections?

i don't really feel like going into the psycho-socio-implications of this, because that feels like homework for my mfa class (or maybe it just feels like one of those long posts that never turns out as profound as i imagine it being).  at any rate, i just think it's interesting.


Signore said...

Some insights on introversion and writing vs. speaking here: Wall Street Journal article

Em said...

True, and potentially dangerous. But also potentially liberating, depending on how it's used.

The Former 786 said...

I've always felt I'm better in writing or in person than on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. And now, with text and instant messaging, the "need" to talk on the phone has been lessened. And I thank the heavens for that.

Talking on the phone is just so limiting. You can't really do other things while talking, or, at least, I can't. Talking online or via text also allows you some time to think about what you're going to say. If it took me 15 minutes to respond to someone on the phone about what my favorite movie was, they'd hang up, but on text, pauses are perfectly acceptable - and I like that.